Tag: Alan Tudyk

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I wrote a shit ton for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Like, 1300 words or so. I had to explain my history with Star Wars, my avoidance of hype, and the film itself, so it was a lot to say. Overall, I enjoyed it, but it had its issues. I won’t reharp on any of that here.

I will instead just talk about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and spin-offs. When they announced the new episodes and the spin-offs, I was honestly more excited about spin-offs. Finally, stand alone stories that don’t involve a Skywalker. Of course then they announced a Han Solo prequel, which eh, whatever I guess. And I will sound hypocritical when I say I sincerely hope one of these movies ends up being a solo Obi-Wan Kenobi film, because I loved Ewan McGregor in that role.

The first spin-off makes sense. It is something giving us a whole lot of new characters, while also keeping it relevant to the main story line. It is a safe beginning, while also allowing them to show new characters for merchandising. Erm, for diversity. That is what I meant to say.

Yen
Oh please tell me I can have a Donnie Yen action figure now?!

Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is a brilliant scientist, and unfortunately with that, great at building weapons. He was working for the Empire, but felt pretty bad, went off grid to live with his wife and daughter as a farmer. But then, Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) finds them and forces Galen to head back to the Empire to work on this Death Star thingy. This leaves his daughter alone, parentless, and pissed off.

Now older, Jyn (Felicity Jones) is a bit of a rebel. Not a Rebel, just a rebel. And then she gets taken up by some Rebels, including Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and his sarcastic strategy robot, K-2SO (Alan Tudyk). She gets pushed into a plan by the Rebel Alliance, wanting to use her to get to her father, Galen, before the Death Star is completed to put a dent into those dirty Empire scums.

And along the way they meet the blind Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) who loves him some force, his friend Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang) who looks like Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2 sort of, Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) a pilot who wants some redemption. Also featuring Forest Whitaker, Alistair Petrie, Genevieve O’Reilly, and returning Jimmy Smits and James Earl Jones.

Girl
Oh yeah, and a strong female lead above this giant group of male characters.

Despite an over 2 hour run time, Rogue One flew by like a sweet, enjoyable breeze. The new characters were all three dimensional and most importantly, I cared about them. Even the one who ended up being sort of a recurring dick.

Jyn was a complex character and not just someone who seemed naturally good at every situation. I loved, loved, loved, Yen as Chirrut and happy to see him included in such a big movie. And K-2SO was a robot for my own heart. He wasn’t as amazing as HK-47 from KOTOR, but gosh darn it, he must be my favorite droid after him.

Despite knowing how the film has to end (right into Episode IV‘s lap), the journey becomes a thing of beauty. There is danger at every turn and there is a real feel that at any point, a character might not make it. If this dealt with any character from the original trilogy, then you would know they can make it through to tell their story. But these are new people, unknowns, they are expendable. And it was refreshing to see.

There are a lot of call backs to the original movies of course. This film is almost like a giant wink to those extreme fan boys out there, and I admit that I wrote down the parts where people laughed and clapped that I didn’t understand. Don’t worry, I asked them afterwards for each reference.

Rouge One is certainly a step in the right direction and will be a wonder for Star Wars fans and regular movie goers alike. But at the end of the day, this film doesn’t offer a lot of completely new elements to the franchise just yet. Like I already said, it was a good safe story to tell, keeping us in familiar territory. Once Star Wars gets away from the Skywalkers, Solos, and Death Stars, when it can tell a truly original story set in their universe, then it might truly reach a new greatness.

But until then, this is a good great stepping stone between the trilogies, with strong characters, and a film many will enjoy.

3 out of 4.

Moana

And this is where we stand. This is where all of the marbles fall. This is where the plot thickens. Finally, Moana is now out, and we can almost fully discuss the potential for Best Animated Film this year.

I was excited for Moana since it was first announced. Every announcement was met with excitement. Character actors. Lin-Manuel Miranda helping with the soundtrack. General plot lines. Just excitement and happiness.

And this has been a decent year for animated films in America. Zootopia, also a Disney film started off strong. Kubo and the Two Strings changed the game. And Moana is the final heavy hitter. (Pixar and Dreamworks faltered this year, with Finding Dory and Kung Fu Panda 3. The later decent, but the worst of the series). And sure, there was a lot of other filler, but no one expected a lot from them, just like I don’t expect anything from Sing or Storks.

Needless to say, the hype was there, and I was hoping it would deliver.

Water
Starting off a film with potential baby drownings is a surefire way to hold my attention.

Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) isn’t a princess damn it. She is the daughter of a Chieftain. There is a difference, she has talents. She also feels drawn to the sea. They live on an island, but outside of their local reef, the sea is rough and scary, so her father (Temuera Morrison) forbids her to really go into the water, because she has more important duties to prepare for on the island.

But everyone knows there is a lot out there. Moana’s grandmother, Gramma Tala (Rachel House), makes sure they know the tales. The tale of the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson), who made the islands. He stole the heart of a goddess a thousand years previous, to give the power of creation to man. But his plan backfired, evil and decay started to lurk and grow, he lost his magical fish hook and was never seen again.

But that is all a story! No way that is real. Until, you know, the crops begin to fail on their island. The fish leave the reef. And their people are worried of being able to feed their families.

Moana isn’t just going to sit around and let her friends, family, and loved ones suffer. No, fuck that. She is going into the see. She is going to find Maui, demand he restore the heart, and fix this blight for good. Sounds like a nice afternoon adventure.

Also starring the voice work of Jemaine Clement as a crab monster, Nicole Scherzinger as Moana’s mom, and Alan Tudyk as a chicken.

Group
There is a joke here about a tiny canoe and wood, but I can’t just quite put my hand on it.

Thankfully, there is a lot going on with Moana. So much that I really don’t even know where to begin! But hey, I will try.

Animation style, it is a gorgeous film. Just like Frozen, I initially sort of had a problem with the character animations compared to the background, but quickly grew into it. The ocean was beautiful, the island so full of background life, and I especially loved the lava demon. It must have taken ages to fully animate that creature and it paid off extremely well.

There weren’t too many annoying characters either. There were small pirate coconut things, they were more amusing than annoying and felt like a reference to Mad Max. For the most part, adults weren’t super dickish in the film, like in other similar adventure stories like How to Train Your Dragon. Our lead was fierce, independent, and stereotype breaking, while Maui was funny and interesting. We still had stereotypical older sage lady, but she at least danced a bit to give her something new.

Music! Music music! What a fantastic soundtrack. Miranda’s influence is super strong in this picture. The first few songs feel very similar to the style of Hamilton songs, including the use of extra chorus members and multiple tunes. Where You Are, How Far I’ll Go, We Know The Way, You’re Welcome, and all the various reprises (There are several) are just great. Only one disappointing song in Shiny, which is sad given it being sung by Clement in a strange Bowie-esque voice. It was hard to understand and his character was lack luster, which is a funny joke given the song title. But hey, Disney movies have to have at least one bad song I guess. Soundtrack was put on Spotify last Friday and I have listened to it a few times.

Finally, we reach the story, and yeah. It is a good one. Sure, cliches here and there, but it is about empowerment and following your dreams, a good message to rehash. I can honestly say I didn’t fully predict everywhere it would go, making it another nice breath of fresh air.

As for which is better, this or Kubo? Well, I don’t know yet. I should re-watch Kubo, but obviously Moana has it beat on actual story and music numbers, but Kubo’s animation and heart are very strong.

4 out of 4.

Zootopia

2016 has a sizable collection of animated movies coming out this year. I’d list them, but that makes for a boring read.

A common theme I see is the classic “Animals doing human people things.” We technically had it with Kung Fu Panda 3, but it was at least set in the past. This year there are at least three major films with this theme in modern times. Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing. It seems excessive, so it probably is.

Needless to say, this made me worried for Zootopia. I had only seen the first teaser trailer, and a lot of posters. It looks un-original. It looked like last year’s The Good Dinosaur. Something they slapped together after a few years, but instead they are anticipating their other film to win awards. That one being Moana.

But then again, Walt Disney Studios hasn’t let me down since The Princess and the Frog. Clearly I should just shut up and watch the movie.

Sloth
Obligatory Non-Animated Sloth Related Clip.

Despite most of the advertisements I have seen, our main character is not the fox, but actually a bunny! A female bunny, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), with big dreams and aspirations. She wants to leave her farm and small village and become a cop! She wants to work in Zootopia, the main mammalian metropolis where so many life forms come together to live and work together to build something great. Of course there has never been a bunny cop before and her parents (Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake) will miss her a lot, but she wants to help other animals!

You see, in this world, humans never happened, all the mammals evolved to be human-esque and resist those primal urges to kill or be killed. Somehow still, despite the hundreds of years, stereotypes still exist for predators and animals. Go figure.

Well she makes it, but Chief Bogo (Idris Elba, an Ox) doesn’t care and makes her a meter maid. After getting herself into trouble and being extremely pushy, she is eventually able to join the big case. Quite a few animals, all predators have gone missing and no one has any leads on any of them. So Judy has only 48 hours to try and find Emmett Otterton, or she will resign from the job. Sucks.

To help her, she blackmails a fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) to help her follow up on some leads. And of course, they become a completely opposite duo that is able to miraculously solve the case and do what no one imagined they could do.

And of course this is a big cast. So let’s not ruin it by talking about who does what and just give the list of names: J.K. Simmons, Jenny Slate, Kristen Bell, Raymond S. Persi, Maurice LaMarche, Nate Torrence, Tommy Chong, Octavia Spencer, Shakira, and of course Alan Tudyk,

Jag
And this guy is our new Olaf/Baymax/Horse from Tangled.

Somewhere, a little cartoon mouse with ears as as big as his head is slowly lighting a cigar, laughing to himself. Walt Disney Animation studios has been in the game for eons at this point and they know what they are doing. Sometimes their advertising may be suspect, but their current main line of films since the CGI era has not had a bust yet, and it was apparently wrong for me to think otherwise.

Zootopia for the most part was a very well done and enjoyable film. Scenes were incredibly detailed, especially during a night time rain storm in the jungle. There was incredible detail put into the streets of the main city and from what it looks like, they may have gotten an accurate scale of all the animals big and small. That is a huge undertaking in a film, instead of everyone just being of similar height ranges to human, a rhino or ox or giraffe appear much larger than our normal bunny point of view. In fact, I first thought something was wrong and things were being exaggerated by the animators because the reality is quite jarring.

Better yet, Judy Hopps is an awesome character. She is inspiring, she is funny, she does more than what anyone expects of her. And hey, Nick Wilde ends up being a complete character as well. A great dynamic duo, both with their own dreams and goals and neither being a cheap stereotype (although, yes, a lot of characters are cheap stereotypes).

MM
Your mom’s a cheap stereotype.

And the movie is funny as well, it had jokes for everyone. Meta Disney jokes were there, especially when it came to Alan Tudyk’s character, movie/TV references (Breaking Bad!) and clever puns. I was almost dying during the Sloth scene, but apparently they turned 80% of that entire bit into a trailer. I’d suggest not watching that and letting it happen naturally during the movie.

It also happens to be about racism/prejudice or even a poor/rich sort of dynamic. It handles the topic with care and kids will be able to understand what is going on and the consequences of these sorts of actions.

Despite how much better it was than my imagination, it did still have some annoyances. The Gazelle played by Shakira, named Gazelle, felt incredibly cheap every time she was on screen or playing the new song just for this movie. More of a money grab than the Trolls from Frozen, but they were mostly just boring. The twists in the plot are relatively easy to catch far in advance. Not the minute small details, but figuring out who is behind the disappearing animals. A disappointing amount of time is spent pre-reveal, when an earlier reveal would have done wonders for building up the bad animal.

CGI movies take a long time to make and come out. But I don’t want to wait a long time to see more of these characters. They should turn this into a TV show, but not a cheaply done one. And fast. It easily works as a police procedural, and they’d have great content for years. Zootopia on its own is definitely recommended, and gives me a small amount of hope that maybe some of the other animated films this year won’t suck too much.

3 out of 4.

Trumbo

Trumbo! The great white buffalo! Of the main acting awards, this is the final film I needed to see to complete the categories.

I missed it when it came out in November, because, I dunno, I was busy or something. I didn’t care to see it. I figured it wouldn’t get nominated, no matter how much I like Bryan Cranston.

But hey, he did get nominated for best actor. And with a mustache! It is basically what Johnny Depp was doing with Mortdecai. That is the movie in 2015 he wanted to win Best Actor for right? I can’t think of any other film.

Erm. Trumbo! True story! Communists! Time to party! Red Party.

Bribe
That’s a communist joke and damn it, that is probably a communist dress too.

Back to Trumbo, or Dalton Trumbo (Cranston) as everyone everywhere calls him. He lives a good life. He is one of the most successful writers in Hollywood. He has contracts with movie studios to write exclusively for them, meaning that his family can live a nice life. That is of course his wife (Diane Lane), main daughter (eventually Elle Fanning) and two other kids who we don’t care about.

But he has a secret. A very vocal secret. He cares about the rights of the workers. Any workers technically, but specifically the Hollywood workers who don’t make money and should make more instead of the Hollywood fat cats. He is a…a…a…COMMUNIST. And there are a bunch of them too. This is now the late 40s and people are starting to get afraid of the Commies, thanks to the Russians and the coldness of their threats. So they try and round up all the communists in Hollywood and KILL THEM! No, not kill them, but black list them. Refuse to let them work in movies ever again. After all, if they are writing their movies, they could be putting subliminal communist things into mainstream America and fuck us from the inside! That would be terrifying.

And Trumbo is about how this man and his friends decided to try and fight for their first amendment rights. And to work despite the blacklist through aliases, friends, or by boldly ignoring the threats of others. Guess how many Oscars Trumbo won while black listed? Three. He was basically penning the “Fuck The Police” song well before the boys in Straight Outta Compton.

And of course we have more people in this movie: John Goodman and Stephen Root are brothers who make a shit ton of B movies. David James Elliott plays JOHN WAYNE. Louis C.K. is a fellow writer commie, Alan Tudyk is a fellow writer, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is a prison man, and Helen Mirren and Michael Stuhlbarg fuck some shit up.

Press
It is rumored that Cranston was able to grow out the ‘Stashe in just 3 minutes.

Despite my wildly successful movie watching lifestyle, I am super behind on almost everything before 1990. I only barely have the 80’s covered, and everything before that is pitiful. So if I can watch a modern movie telling me about movies back in the day, I consider it a win. I have never seen Roman Holiday or The Brave One, but you bet your ass I have seen Spartacus. Getting to hear behind the scenes stories of how these films were written and what they had to do to hide Trumbo’s name was fascinating. It is probably the sexiest thing I have ever heard of when talking about 1950’s Hollywood writers.

Cranston gave a pretty good performance. I am not willing to call it incredible. I saw a lot of Cranston that I have seen in other roles, and I never really saw someone other than himself. I didn’t feel like he ever fully transformed into the man he was playing, not even when he was sitting in the bathtub. I can say it was my least favorite of the Best Actor nominee performances, and would probably rather someone like Steve Carell or Mark Ruffalo from Infinitely Polar Bear.

C.K. and Lane both did excellent jobs with their supporting characters, although Lane wasn’t given a lot to work with.

Story wise, again, there were a lot of interesting moments, but I will say I got confused a few times at a lot of the extra characters, who they were supposed to be, whose side people were on, and just why they were relevant. There are a lot of extra characters here with important roles, too many to list and name, and yeah. I can’t remember most of them. Thankfully it was only small bits of confusion and I could still easily grasp the main points of the story.

3 out of 4.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

I know I know, why would someone review Chipwrecked when it is in the middle awards caliber movie time? Why something from 2011 at the end of 2015?

Well, I like to review anything I watch that came out within the last 5~ years, that way my recreational viewing isn’t completely “wasted.” And I had to watch a bunch of these movies to prepare for Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, coming out soon! I can’t go into that movie without knowing what happened in the first three movies. I’d be missing out on hours of plot!

As a quick recap, I liked the first movie enough because of the Christmas and Witch Doctor songs. Classic, not just new pop music all chipmunky. It had a bad acting love interest though. The second film was bad, it felt like an episode of a TV show and very little happened. And Zachary Levi was downright terribad. Now we have Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, which I thought was…oh wait. Yeah. Review.

Alvinnnnn
Hmm. Yeah, review. Let’s get on that. This is what the people want.

The gang all here? Dave (Jason Lee) is actually in this movie and not awkwardly replaced by someone who looks like a younger Dave. That’s good. And they are going on a vacation cruise to then go to some vague foreign country for an International Music festival! Huzzah!

We have Theodore (Jesse McCartney), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler), Eleanor (Amy Poehler), Jeanette (Anna Faris), Brittany (Christina Applegate), and of course Alvin Alvin Alvin (Justin Long).

But guess what, they get annoying and bad things happen. Next thing you know, they are all stuck on a kite and headed out to sea! Oh no! Not Dave, he can’t be on a kite. But he does jump in after them to save him, getting himself into a pickle as well.

Next thing you know, they are on a deserted island. Not super deserted, because the chipmunks meet Zoe (Jenny Slate), who apparently is a female version of Cast Away and has been on the island for 8-9 years. She is very clean and has a sweet hut.

Eventually a volcano will happen and some other bad things. Simon gets bit by a poisonous spider, which changes his personality to the outgoing Simone (Alan Tudyk), who yes, apparently needs a new actor to speak for him.

Also David Cross is in this one, again, because they need more boring plot lines I guess.

Sexy
Not to be confused with their sexually confusing plot lines.

The third Alvin and the Chipmunks movie ends up being everything I expected. Which was very little and and bad plot.

But hey, at least some of the songs were good. They packed a bunch in the first half, because they were too busy to sing when “scary” things were occurring. The songs are the only real redemable part.

The villain was lazy and dumb, especially when they already had a volcano. Bringing back Cross was a complete waste, although he ended up having the best lines. I am stoked he isn’t in the next film.

Technically this film seems like it is more about Simon and Jeanette, which is a good change from the Alvin/Brittany show. This makes me hope that the spotlight shifts towards Theodore/Eleanor in the next film, which would make its existence at least a little bit worthwhile.

Hopefully they make it more entertaining than just some catchy song choices and an actual good plot.

1 out of 4.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Surprise, surprise. That was my emotion when I left The Maze Runner movie last year. Going into it, I thought I would hate it. I thought it would just be another terrible young adult movie adaptation that a company wanted to film to get that sweet post-Twilight money. It had a laughably bad trailer with some cringe dialogue, but I left it excited and wanting more.

Sure, I knew that whatever happened, there should be no more mazes after the first one, so calling it Maze Runner anything afterwards doesn’t make a lot of sense. Blame that on the author not coming up with a better series name.

This time, for Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (dropping the “The” was a solid choice), I am going in basically blind. I haven’t seen trailers for it or TV spots. I just want it to surprise me with whatever else is going to happen. This review is also so late because I wasn’t able to attend the press screening for the film, because I instead saw The Visit. Regardless of what has happened, this franchise has gotten some money out of me.

Hang
They don’t have to tie me up like these poor saps. Besides, I don’t carry loose change.

Remember where we left off? We got out of the fucking maze, that’s what. The evil Corporation WCKD (Wicked) who was testing on them have been killed and resistance group has saved them. Yay!

Or are they really the good guys? The first film already implied they were bad, so things shouldn’t be too weird to assume they are indeed bad. Even though they are being taken care of by the wonderful Janson (Aidan Gillen). The surviving crew is immediately debriefed, checked up physically, and welcomed into the facility. Forget who we have? Well, there is our main dude Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), the certifiable GOAT Minho (Ki Hong Lee), the minority, Frypan (Dexter Darden), and the sweet one, Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster). Yeah, I too am surprised at how few of them made it out. I really thought there was more.

Oh yeah, and then there is the woman, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario). She doesn’t have a lot of personality so I forget about her.

Needless to say, bad things happen at the new facility, so Thomas and Crew end up escaping. They gain the help of Aris (Jacob Lofland) and Winston (Alexander Flores), who helm them realize this place isn’t good. They are collecting kids from all over these mazes for some …wicked…reason.

Now they have to go into The Scorch, the name for the desert, and survive against the elements. And against the Cranks, which are like the infected humans that they are immune to. Basically zombies. Then they basically go from area to pre-established area, each with their own notable leader, who have their own new world agendas. They are kind of like a fleeting Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Along the way they will meet Rosa Salazar, Giancarlo Esposito, Alan Tudyk, Barry Pepper, Lili Taylor, and of course, Patricia Clarkson.

Dust
But first, they are going to get sand in every nook and cranny.

At over two hours, The Scorch Trials thankfully tries to fit as much as possible onto the screen for us viewers. So much that it is hard to imagine the film as a whole. I’d rather break it down, which means I am going to make another Likes and Dislikes list. Last time I did this was with Avengers: Age of Ultron!

Likes:

  • Right off the bat, things get tense and there is quite a lot of action in this movie.
  • The soundtrack can keep you mostly on the edge of your seat!
  • The Cranks/zombies are an interesting add on to the series. They are fast zombies basically and it was totally unexpected. Some of there scenes were quite terrifying, helping blend this into a more hardcore Dystopian future film.
  • For the most part, beautifully shot with great camera work.

Dislikes:

  • The intelligence of the characters would not be consistent. They would do something really smart, but then something terribly stupid just so the plot could lazily move forward. The standing around during the sewer scene is a prime example.
  • There continues to be very cringeworthy dialogue.
  • The film feels like it doesn’t have a cohesive story to follow. Just a bunch of small barely connected parts. And like I said, the main characters don’t feel special, they just feel like they are meandering in the middle of something way bigger than themselves and they are insignificant.
  • One scene in particular where a character does a “Noble Suicide” because he is going to turn into a Crank. How? By shooting himself in the head and telling everyone to leave him alone an keep walking. Not only was I pretty sure they were out of bullets by then, but also what the fuck, you are about to die, you don’t need to keep the gun. Just kill yourself so they can get the gun back. There are fucking zombies out there.
  • The glass breaking window scene was as nonsensical as they come.
  • Teresa was so useless. She was like an emotionless blog used to move the plot forward, usually thanks to Thomas trying to do something for her.

This may read as being a bit nitpicky, but in all honesty, there were a lot of cool moments, and a lot of bad minor or stupid moments. After a second movie I feel like I should actually know more about what happened on this planet. If there is one movie left I feel like I should know more about their overall end goal by now, instead of running around like headless chickens.

I was pretty sure I would have given this film a 2 when I started writing it, because at least I was entertained in the film and I was even scared at points. But a disappointing finale, along with a lot of scenes that made me tilt my head in confusion, leads me to realize this is poorly put together. When your film starts to break down once you think back on events and plot points, that is never a good sign.

Hell, this is the same reason why the last Transformers movie got a 1 instead of a 2. Plot doesn’t hold up. Hopefully the third movie can restore some sort of awe and greatness to this franchise. And, you know, not just be a spray painted golden turd.

1 out of 4.

Buy It! – This movie is available now on {Blu-Ray} and {DVD}.

Welcome To Me

If there is one thing I like talking about on this website, it is me. Yes, movies too, sure, whatever. But I am far more important, because a review has to give his/her thoughts on the movie, and knowing how they felt on previous films of that nature is the only way to know if you are compatible with that reviewer. Not only that, but you should know how they feel about other topics too. Like sharks. Or potatoes. Or that bitch Sally from the sixth grade.

You should know everything about that person, even their deepest and darkest secrets. The movie isn’t important, it is clearly whoever does the talking.

So a movie called Welcome To Me just makes sense to me. That is what the website is secretly about. Me me me me me me.

Swan
And swan rides.

Alice Klieg (Kristen Wiig) has borderline personality disorder. That is very serious and not a joke, although it can lead her to doing weird things. She is living on government benefits, is very selfish, always has a TV on in her home (for infomercials and Oprah!), and spends a lot of money on the lottery. She even has only one real friend, Gina (Linda Cardellini), despite her quirks. Then Alice wins about 86 million dollars in the lottery.

Well shit yeah. Time to go live in a casino and do whatever she feels like! Like stop taking her meds despite her doctor (Tim Robbins) strongly discouraging the act. She is a bit peeved her planned speech was cut off on the air after winning due to talking about masturbation, so she goes to hijack one of the late night shows hosted by Gabe (Wes Bentley), who sells weird shit. They think she is nuts and cut her off too. But she is rich now. So after a long discussion, with their company losing tons of cash, the main owner Rich Ruskn (James Marsden) allows her to have 100 two hour long episodes of a TV show she calls Welcome To Me, since she is paying for all the costs up front.

And what we really get is a terrible show, where she cooks food, talks about whatever is on her mind, and has reenactments of past events in her child hood in order to get back at mean people. Don’t worry, this is not at all like Holy Man.

Also featuring Joan Cusack, Alan Tudyk, Thomas Mann, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Couch
Like all recent action movies, orange and blue also feature heavily in this film.

First thing of note, this movie does not make fun of people who actually have borderline personality disorder. That would be mean and awkward and not something that happens a lot nowadays. I think. No, this movie instead shows the reality of the disease, which can put people in weird situations. Yes it is a comedy, but you best believe it is also a drama. There are many melt downs where Alice’s character loses it and does the unthinkable. During these Wiig shows herself to be a gifted actor.

Any comedian could be completely exaggerated in their roles to make fun of a serious condition, but for Wiig in the film it all feels so real and natural. She gives the role proper care and restraint. She is also completely 100% full frontal naked in this movie too. So you know it is a serious role for her, and not some throwaway straight to DVD quick cash job.

I thought the movie had a nice balance of drama/comedy. The comedy in the film isn’t the type that will make you laugh every second, but it is still quite amusing at points.

Overall, this movie won’t be enjoyable for everyone. Just make sure you are in a weird mood before hand and it might surprise you.

3 out of 4.

Big Hero 6

For whatever reason, I know a lot of people who were upset when Disney bought Marvel Studios. They thought it was the end of the good stuff. They thought only bad could come. They said the same thing when they bought Lucasfilm.

I, however, was excited. They weren’t going to mess around with a good thing too much, they didn’t want to spend billions to not make billions more back! But I was even more excited about the potential of a full on, super good CGI Marvel/Disney flick. Yeah. Something with the cutting edge in technology, giving me full on super hero battles, with flash colors and everything the comics promised, and really that live action movies still can’t fully give. So when I found out it was Big Hero 6? Well, I obviously had to look up what the hell that was.

Big Hero 6 is a much smaller property that has a small following. It is most well known for having, at times, Sunfire and Silver Samurai from X-Men in it, but we know that Fox has those rights, so they had to work around it. Disney also wanted to be able to tell a new story and not feel super tied down to any mythos, so messing with a smaller property would work well with that. And hey, if they didn’t have the Big Hero 6 leader in it, they’d probably have to change a lot anyways.

And thus, this animated movie exists, presumably nothing like the (old) comics, and I knowing nothing about it couldn’t have been happier.

Team 6
Yay surprises and happiness and sunshine flowers!

This story is about Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) and his trouble with ladies. That’s not true, he doesn’t have troubles, he just doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about ANYTHING really, outside of robots and robot fighting. You see, Hiro is only 14, but he already graduated high school. Bright kid. Has a bright older brother too, Tadashi (Daniel Henney), but he is in college doing boring stuff. Hiro just wants to illegally bot fight and make money that way.

But once he finds out that Tadashi is actually in a really fucking cool robotics program, with really cool people? Yeah, that is when he thinks college might be a good thing, and not just living at home with his Aunt (Maya Rudolph) in San Fransokyo (which you should be able to figure out what two cities were combined for this).

Well, Hiro is able to design super sexy nanobot technology to get himself admission to the school! But when disaster strikes and he loses his invention, he is sad again. Not even his new college friends can help: Go Go Tomago (Jamie Chung), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Fred (T.J. Miller).

But when he finds out his invention was stolen and is being used for nefarious purposes, well, he cannot just sit idly by. He has to fight back. And he has to use Baymax (Scott Adsit), the soft robot helper and turn him into a fighting machine! And maybe he can fight back too. And his friends. Yes… Maybe they can be…super heroes.

Also featuring James Cromwell as Professor Robert Callaghan and Alan Tudyk as the seedy business man Alistair Krei.

Butt butt butt butt butt butt
Shake that sexy butt.

Color? Yes. Fantastic animation? Yes yes. Likeable characters? Yesx3. A plot about science and why knowledge is good and how science can change the world? Hells to the yes.

Watching Big Hero 6, the best way to describe it was having a blast. This Disney film is notable for not having a lot of songs, which might be their goal. They went Tangled, then Wreck-It Ralph, then Frozen, and now Big Hero 6. A lot more “macho” themed movie, if you go by outdated gender stereotypes, so there is no room for silly songs. Just action, humor, and sexy sexy graphics.

This was just a really great both super hero movie and animated family film. That is a hard one to pull off. A lot of great humor and it has a lot of similarities (based on my research) with the comics, but unique enough to make it its own thing. The only issue with it being in the animated field and a Disney flick, is I know that if we are going to get it a sequel, we have at least a four year wait. Can’t have one of these guys every two years, as it will make them compete with themselves for Best Animated Picture, and they don’t want that.

And can we get another shout out to science? Yay science! Some of the tech was inspired by real life advances too, making this futuristic tale also a bit modern.

It is too close to Halloween now, but I expect fully by next year that we will see a lot of Hiro and Baymax duos out and about. Not more than Elsa, but a fair number still.

4 out of 4.

Frozen (Disney)

Frozen, not to be confused with the survivor horror movie of the same name, is the first Walt Disney Animation Studios film since Wreck-It Ralph. You know, because Planes was made by a lesser Disney studio, not their main one.

It is also based on “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Anderson, which explains why they gave they call this movie that over in Europe. Anderson is kind of a big deal over in Europe. I have only heard bits and pieces of “The Snow Queen,” so this film will be a complete surprise story wise for me!

Girls!
LOOK. TWO WOMEN. TWO DISNEY PRINCESSES. SUCH MADNESS!

Frozen is about two sisters, Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell), both princesses in their castle home. However, the sisters are quite different. Elsa, the eldest, was born with magical powers: the ability to make ice and snow from her hands! Anna is completely ordinary in the magic regard, but she has a big heart. Unfortunately, after an accident, Elsa is forced to remain hidden from the rest of the world, for they will not be able to understand her powers. This means she also is kept as a secret from her sister.

Years later, Elsa is set to officially become the Queen, meaning the Castle is opening its doors for one day only. Surely nothing can go amiss in a single, nice summer day?

Well, her secret rears its ugly head and she accidentally sets the city in eternal winter! During her escape to live in the mountains alone, she also accidentally traps all of the visiting ships in the fjord (first time used that word in a review) It is up to Anna to save her! And Hans (Santino Fontana), a prince she just met and totally got engaged to in a day, and Kristof (Jonathan Groff), an ice maker who lives alone with his reindeer Sven. And Olaf (Josh Gad). A magical snowman. Don’t worry about him.

There are also trolls! And an evil Duke (Alan Tudyk), which would be the third villain played/voiced in a row for Tudyk, after Wreck-It Ralph and 42.

Guy Yo
I wonder if he is going to warm her icy heart with a cool island song?

It turns out that Frozen is basically a full-fledged musical! Hooray! It features eight unique songs (although the length of a couple are pretty short) and one amazing reprise of a song. Of course, like all Disney movies with singing, most of them are in the first half, with the second half left to just plot development and action.

I was also a bit worried that this movie would tease us like Disney did with Enchanted, by casting Menzel but not letting her actually sing a song. Thankfully, she got a solid 2ish songs overall (one full one, and two shared ones). Bell is given most of the singing work, and she really knocks it out of the park with her voice.

I was amazed at the world that was created for this movie, which showcased the beautiful snowy (and summery) landscapes that Finland/Norway had to offer. The ice effects from the Queen were gorgeous and really popped from the screen, but not in a gimmicky way.

Story wise, I don’t think this has actually anything to do with “The Snow Queen” tale that it is based on, so it is practically a new story that will seem fresh to audiences.

Frozen did have some annoyances. While watching, more and more characters seemed to be added to the adventure, knowing at least a few of them served just as a way to sell toys, but that is the way Disney works. The animation style for the human characters felt a bit off from the rest of animations in that everyone looked like a literal doll character. It was like an improved version of the style used in Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse. Yes, I have seen an episode or two of that show for comparison sake.

Overall, I really enjoyed every other aspect of the story than the few parts I listed above. It does a great job of avoiding cliches. The film surprised me over and over as I couldn’t tell where the story was taking me.

Plus, this film isn’t about some man coming to save the day, it is about sisterly love in the face of adversary. Okay, well, I guess there are some male heroes still, but that is beside the point.

Frozen is the last animated movie of the year (unless you actually include Walking With Dinosaurs) and a must watch for people who enjoy happiness.

4 out of 4.

42

First off, I am a bit disappointed. The movie 42 doesn’t get me any closer to figuring out the question of life, the universe, and everything.

Unless that question is baseball related. That’s right, 42 isn’t about The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, but instead baseball, go figure. Not just any baseball story, like the forgettable Trouble With The Curve. This is baseball history! The story of Jackie Robinson, the first black MLB player. Well, technically the first black MLB player in modern, post World War II baseball. After all, Moses Fleetwood Walker played in the MLB for a season in 1884. But after that, sixty years is a pretty long time, with “Negro Leagues” put in place, so Jackie Robinson still turned heads in his debut.

Mirror
Despite the turned heads, he still didn’t help us answer that dang question…
42 doesn’t focus on Jackie Robinson’s (Chadwick Boseman) entire life, but instead about 2.5 years of it. But before we get to Jackie, we first get to learn about Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), GM of the Brooklyn Dodgers. If we listen to his reasoning at the beginning, he wants to try something crazy. That’s right, a black man on the Dodgers! Why not, that should increase ticket sales, and he will also do whatever he can to get his team a pennant.

So he picks Jackie from the pile, gets him on their minor league team, and hopes he can kick enough ass to make it on the MLB team, while holding back his anger enough to not let the rampant racism get to him.

This is a true story, we all know he makes it to the team after a year in the minors, and the rest, really is history. We also see a little bit into his relationship with his wife (Nicole Beharie), and I do just mean a little bit. There are other members of his team who all embrace in him different ways, some with petitions (Ryan Merriman), some with open arms (Lucas Black). Some managers didn’t give a shit (Christopher Meloni), and some made it their mission to make his life a living hell (The Phillies) (Alan Tudyk). But that is to be expected from a Philadelphia based team I guess.

This also has the smaller, yet still important, story of Wendell Smith (Andre Holland). He was the the first black member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, but first had to travel with the teams for two years, writing articles about Jackie and his struggles. That means Jackie Robinson was influential on more than just the baseball level, he just chose to end racism through beating the other team’s pitchers and stealing bases.

Oh there is also a John C. McGinley cameo as the radio announcer, dropping classic line after classic line of old timey talk.

Gang up
Jackie probably thinks I am talking far too much about white people in this review.
Speaking of white people, I guess Branch Rickey was pretty dang important to this story, but no one really talks about him in popular culture. The filmmaker makes sure you know how much of this all falls on his shoulders, and how it would not have happened (so soon) without him. Yep, this just ends up being another civil rights movie where white people are the saviors. Just like The Help and The Secret Life Of Bees. This literally keeps happening in film, and it is kind of annoying.

Even though in this example it might be true, it is still frustrating to see that it is focused on so heavily just to sell more tickets.

I loved Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson. I am glad they went with a relatively unknown actor for the role, because that was one of my bigger problems with the movie Ali.

Overall, 42 is a feel good inspirational movie and it succeeds at that level. There is some intense emotion in here, but it still ends with everyone smiling by the end. It could have dealt with a lot more of his life, but hey, after his first year, he wasn’t the only guy able to make the switch. He was a great athlete, and this is an acceptable (if not entirely accurate) portrayal of his life. I personally still left the theater happy, despite any real issues.

 

3 out of 4.