Tag: Bobby Cannavale

I, Tonya

Tonya Harding is currently living in infamy, as the most famous figure skater ever. More people know her name than Nancy Kerrigan. More people know her name than the other figure skaters since then and before.

Tonya Harding was one of first people to be sensationalized around the world thanks to the emergence of the 24 hour news cycle. Yes, she was involved in a terrible scandal. A scandal we have never really seen before or after, or if we did, it was a lot more subtle and professionally done.

I, Tonya is a film more about the once incident that will forever define her life, unfortunately. It is about her youth, her skating career, her relationships, and sure, some time after as well.

Happy
And about her happiest moment, in which she was clearly, very goddamn happy.

Tonya Merigold Bethany Harding (Margot Robbie) (I made up those middle names) grew up poor and unloved, which is really how she was most of her life as well.

Her mother (Allison Janney) was the one who spent most of her time raising her, with a lot of failed marriages, men who could no longer stand her. She was beaten, but her mom still put most of her money into skating lessons, because Tonya showed skills at the young age of three. Tonya was crass, a red neck, vulgar, and everything that her mother taught her to be.

This led to some contention in the ice skating community, who demanded their skaters be princesses. She was often not treated right by the judges, even if she landed the hardest of tricks perfectly.

A hard life led Tonya to a hard man, Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), a couple of people who married their first love when neither had a strong education. More beatings, more of a shit home life, and yet still, Tonya succeed on the ice.

All of this led up to the 1994 Winter Olympics, and I am sure you heard a lot about that one.

Also starring Anthony Reynolds, Bobby Cannavale, Bojana Novakovic, Caitlin Carver, Julianne Nicholson, Paul Walter Hauser, Ricky Russert, and Mckenna Grace as little Tonya.

Family
The real torture is probably how long it took to do her hair.

I didn’t really know what to expect going into I, Tonya. Again, I really only understood the woman behind the incident through parodies and Weird Al. I knew it was classified as some sort of Dark Comedy, and usually Dark Comedies aren’t based on real events, even if they say they are. I also know that this whole thing is from Tonya and companies point of view, Nancy Kerrigan had nothing to do with this film, so there was a chance of bias.

And so I tried to look at it objectively, just as a film, telling a story, not worrying about how it matched up with real events. Like how I did for The Greatest Showman. And yet it was hard to do that as characters constantly broke the fourth wall to tell if these things really did or didn’t happen, and I don’t just mean the documentary feel of the film for some parts.

But at this point I am stalling. I, Tonya was masterful cinema in my eyes. It took a tragic and strange event and gave it human qualities. As far as I am concerned, Tanya Harding was a tragic figure growing up and very misunderstood. She had to struggle a lot through poverty, physical abuse and mental abuse from those who loved her, and yet she still became a success. And fuck it, I believe she wasn’t involved with the incident at this point. Movie has set my mind to a certain point, and I just feel so incredibly sad about it all.

I, Tonya made me laugh a ton, made me cry, but more importantly, it made me think. That sounds like a canned response, but it made me think about what it means to be a celebrity, what it means to have your lives completely under camera all the time, and how you aren’t allowed to ever be weak unless you want to be trampled.

Except when it comes to Trump. The mockery is justified.

4 out of 4.

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

¨It only took twenty years, but we finally have a Jumanji sequel…” said no one ever about this movie, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.

Especially since everyone of course remembers that Zathura: A Space Adventure totally exists!

But also because when this movie was announced, a lot of people got pretty angry. Saying things like it would tarnish Robin Williams´ legacy, that it was changing too many things, that it didn´t feel like Jumanji, and everything else. People seem to think that movie studios were sitting on this idea for years, just waiting for Williams to fall over so they could move on. Williams did not own the rights to Jumanji.

When I saw the trailer initially I was actually a little bit excited. Getting sucked into a video game is not a new prompt. It has been done many times as one-off TV show episodes, entire shows have been based on them, and movies as well, but it feels like when it happens it is usually shit. And since I like a lot of these actors, I had a bit more hope for this one.

Group
A diverse cast of characters in a jungle, WHAT YEAR IS IT?!

Don’t worry purists, this film takes place in the same universe as the first Jumanji film! As it starts in the mid 90’s, boardgame found on a beach. However, board games are lame, so the kid doesn’ play it and goes back to his video games. So what’s an evil sentient-esque game supposed to do but morph into a playing system? That is how they will get the kids hooked.

Flash forward to modern times, and we have four kids, very distinct histories and likes, who end up getting detention at the same time. Spencer (Alex Wolff) is our nerd/video game lover, we have The Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) who is good at sports, Bethany (Madison Iseman) a popular cute girl addicted to her phone, and Martha (Morgan Turner) who also is nerdy but more reclusive. They have a task of removing staplers from hundreds of magazines in a basement, hooray child labor! They of course instead find this old video game, all agree to play, because fuck work, and lo and behold, they get sucked into a video game!

Now, they are all the avatars they chose as their characters. Spencer is now Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), good at everything, while The Fridge is Mouse Finbar (Kevin Hart), the backpack guy sidekick, Martha is now Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) a fighter good at fighting, and Bethany has become Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black), an overweight cartologist.

They must work together to balance their strengths and weaknesses in their new bodies to save the jungles of Jumanji, and also, get themselves back home.

Also starring Bobby Cannavale, Rhys Darby, Nick Jonas, Marc Evan Jackson, and Colin Hanks.

Shock
The Rock showing emotion, WHAT YEAR IS IT?

As previously mentioned, most “jump into video game movies” are poorly made. Just look at the third Spy Kids movie. The problem with all of these films or tv shows is they just never seem to “get” video games. They make them awkward puzzle based challenges, but mostly a lot of…non gaming things. The closest we have to a movie understanding video games has been Edge of Tomorrow.

If there is anything you can say about Jumanji 2, it is that it at least understands video games. Our characters have multiple lives, sharing lives, strengths and weaknesses, there are obvious levels, there are boundaries, there are goals, NPCs, weird interactions. It feels like people interacting with a video game world for the most part, that is wonderful.

It is wonderful, until they contradict themselves. For example, one of my biggest issues with this movie is Dr. Smolder Bravestone. He has no weaknesses, and his strengths include Fighting, Strength, Endurance, Speed, and being Fearless. Yeah, he has a bunch. And all the characters in avatar form obviously have strengths or weaknesses that are not normal. But hey, Ruby can actually fight despite being weak in real life. And Smolder can run fast, jump high, and all that.

Except for apparently his Fearless trait. Because a recurring plot point is watching Johnson scream at the slightest and smallest of animals, running in terror, over and over again. It causes one of his deaths. It is such a ridiculous oversight, it really bugs me because everything else was on point and this one felt glaring.

Overall, the movie is just okay still. The video game aspects are fine, the plot is really week. It doesn’t have an overall sense of awe or wonder like its predecessors. Everything is of course just extremely CGI’d and action scenes, with too many of the scenes focusing on human bad guys instead of swell animal problems. We don’t even get natural disasters, despite the several plant or weather based issues that Jumanji gave us.

A fine film, it just still could have been a lot better.

2 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.

The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature

Alright, this is an easy introduction. The Nut Job sucked. It came out January, 2014, made an okay money and a sequel was announced for January 15, 2016. Months before that date I noticed it and waited, because I was ready for an equally shitty movie that is easy to trash.

And then January happened, it was nowhere to be seen anywhere, and no one knew when it was coming out. It wasn’t until months later, April 2016, when it was announced it was pushed back to May 19, 2017. Yes, it wasn’t officially delayed until THREE MONTHS AFTER IT WAS SUPPOSED TO COME OUT. No announcements about being pushed back indefinitely, just quietly hidden under a rug. But I was there, I was asking the hard questions. I also don’t know when they finally gave it a name that was different, but they called it The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature, to appeal to…some demographic.

Three months later in July, they announced that Jackie Chan had joined the cast. He joined the cast six months after it was supposed to already be out. There is some real big behind the scene delays going on. It wasn’t until December of 2016 when it was pushed back into August 2017, where it moved around again once I think, but was kept basically the same.

What a production shit show. And to think there is a The Nut Job 3 IMDB page saying a 2019 release date, despite no official announcements at all. Who is in charge damn it?

Squirrels
Ah, the fucking squirrels are probably calling the shots.

This sequel takes place a few years later with the nut store now out of business. And by that, I mean, it was being used as a mob den or whatever, so they probably just never got a new owner and it was condemned. And for some reason this condemned building was never removed of its items, so its basement was still full of nuts of all sorts. I assume it is a few years later, because literally none of the other squirrel and rodent leaders are present in this film, just our main character and crew and some young things, so at some point everyone else must have died out.

Now Surly (Will Arnett) and Andie (Katherine Heigl) are the de facto leaders of this group, I guess. And by that, I mean Andie is trying to teach some baby chipmunks how to hunt for nuts in the park, and Surly and his gang of randoms (Maya Rodolph, Gabriel Iglesias, Jeff Dunham, Rob Tinker, Kari Wahlgren, Tom Kenny, Sebastian Maniscalco) are living in the nut shop basement that has turned to a variable den of sin. Andie thinks they are losing their ability to succeed in nature. Probably true.

Also in this city is a corrupt mayor (Bobby Moynihan). He seems like he has been there for awhile though, based on the way he lives and talks. He keeps getting elected despite being openly and obviously corrupt, and a danger to the citizens. He drives along sidewalks and hurts people while displaying he is above the law, yet everyone is fine with i? Anyways, this mayor likes his city making money and says that every square inch of his city makes money except for one. This is when most people would say “Oh yeah, the abandoned nut shop”. No, he says the park. Meaning he doesn’t know about the nut shop either.

So yeah, he wants to put an amusement park on the park instead, to make money. He begins to demolish stuff, which would be fine because of the nut shop, but the nut shop also blows up.

Now the animals have to go to war with the machines and the amusement park and the mayor. Oh how nutty!

Also featuring Isabela Moner as the mayors bratty as shit daughter (no mom in site, mayor probably killed her to be honest), Peter Stormare as an exterminator, Bobby Cannavale as another dog, and Jackie Chan as a kung fu mouse leading an army of city mice.

LibertyLand
That is a sweet ass sign, I would probably go there if I lived in the general vacinity.

“It was a mess of a movie.” – Gorgon Reviews, describing The Nut Job, in 2014. And it easily fits this review as well.

At this point in the review I am already over 700 words, and I haven’t even started to deconstruct its ass down yet.

I already alluded to it, but the mayor character cannot even exist in the world they created. Unless right when the movie starts he just got elected (despite implying longevity), and he was going on a two week crazy spree of fucking up parks and killing pedestrians. But we know it is a lie. For whatever reason this mayor character wanted to make the shittiest park, quickly, to make small amounts of money. But he is clearly a guy with high standards, so he wouldn’t make a park out of used parts, but something nice and shiny that people would want to go to for a long period of time. Another bad plot point.

The park premiers at a big fancy event for the mayor and all of his campaign donors, where everyone is dressed up, fancy as fuck, and rich. Except literally none of those individuals would ever set foot in a park like that. It is extremely ugly and they don’t try to hide it at all. It looks like a park that could give you AIDS just for walking into it.

The animals start terrorizing the park, the rich people hide, but don’t worry, exterminators come and get rid of them all. And the mayor makes these rich people stay. Of course animals quickly break out, come back to the park, and start to rip things up and destroy things with explosions. That point is weird though because 1) The rich people didn’t leave, 2) When things were exploding they carefully only showed the exterminators (who had already finished and should have been gone). Yes, very odd. Although they didn’t show them there, they specifically showed them staying, so a whole bunch of people probably died in this plan and they are just covering it because of badly written PG films.

Speaking of badly written, I am pretty sure that the movie was made, was worse, then they had to change a lot of it. Since Chan was brought in so late, they probably added his plot lines. He wasn’t in the film until halfway or so, and only one scene. Then he was brought back during the crazy end mess. I have to imagine that they just added this shit in, and that is why it was delayed a year and a half. A big waste of Jackie Chan.

The voice work is bad. The movie has absolutely no real feelings behind it. They just patched some shit together, hoping no one would examine to find out that there are holes everywhere.

And goddamn it, where is that little girls mom? Why was the Nut shop ignored by a money hungry government? Why the fuck does Andie the squirrel put up with Surly, who abuses her emotionally and puts her down in front of others constantly? And did the eat the other goddamn squirrels from the first movie?

0 out of 4.

Daddy’s Home

I don’t know when this review would be published (but if you are reading it from a recent FB post or Tweet, then the answer is today!), but I assure you it has been sitting on my website for weeks just waiting.

You see, Daddy’s Home came out on Christmas along with a lot of good films that I had to spend time seeing. I didn’t feel like going to a screening of Daddy’s Home and was perfectly fine waiting for a Red Box rental before giving it any time or effort.

But then I had to go and win tickets to see it at any theater near me. Sigh. I even waited almost two weeks after I got the tickets, a month after it came out, hoping I could at least watch it alone on a Thursday matinee showing. But two other fucking people showed up. Who does that!

Either way, the review is just waiting to be filler. The entire month of February is reserved for new movies, and movies nominated for awards. Sorry Daddy’s Home! I am sure people will care about you in March or whenever the hell I remember to post this.

Family
Rated PG-13 for Shenanigans for the whole fucking family!

Being a step dad is hard. Unless you are Brad Fucking Whitaker (Will Ferrell). He loves kids and has read books on being a step dad. He can’t have kids of his own after a bad dentist x-ray accident, so it is nice that he met and fell in love with Sara (Linda Cardellini). She has two kids (Owen Vaccaro and Scarlett Estevez) and they need someone stable.

Not someone like Dusty Mayron (Mark Wahlberg), the paterfamilias, who is beyond cool, but unstable and a drifter. According to the books, Brad should try and develop a friendship with Dusty as it is good for the kids, which is why he agrees to let him hang out and live in their house for awhile.

Sure enough, Dusty thinks Brad is a little bitch. He also likes his kids, so he tries to show case how awesome he is, at Brad’s expense, to win back his ex and the kids. Ah yes, Dad vs Step Dad. A tale as old as time.

Also featuring (in order of importance), Hannibal Buress as a dude, Thomas Haden Church as a boss, Bobby Cannavale as a doctor, and Bill Burr as a different dad.

Dad
He has facial hair and facial hair means cool.

Daddy’s Home is the type of film where watching the trailer is really all you need to get by. The major jokes are in the trailer and 90% of the film can be figured out from it alone. And guess what? The film offers no twists or turns that you wouldn’t expect. Given its genre, you can probably figure out how it will end, especially given how the trailer frames everything and they make Dusty out to be the bad guy.

I am not saying a film has to be 100% unique and non obvious to be likable, but I need something I haven’t seen before. Will Ferrell. Stop these shit movies. What the fuck. Can you just get back with Oscar Nominated Adam McKay? Is that the only way you can be in a good film? And also Night At The Roxbury, of course, a classic. The number of shit films is bugging me out and making me worried about Zoolander 2 (which will be reviewed on this site before this one is released).

Wahlberg hasn’t been in as much shit, but has been doing the Ted movies now, so it is hard to say. Maybe that man just can’t do comedy either. We need him doing action roles or something. Get him out of this funk.

Daddy’s Home is boring. The only part that was a delight was Hannibal Buress’ strange character. His first scene was very weak, as all the jokes involving him felt like they were written by a middle schooler who was trying to sound edgy. But thankfully his character kept coming back and got better after the fact. Still not really worth watching it just for him.

On a final note, what kind of elementary school Daddy Daughter dance would feature the “Like a G6” song. Did this movie come out 5 years ago and sit on a shelf that long? I lived my whole life avoiding it whenever it came on, but this film ruined that for me too.

1 out of 4.

Spy

Like a lot of people, I am beginning to mistrust Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy.

Paul Feig did give us Bridesmaids, sure, but The Heat didn’t feel right with me. He also has his strange obsession with McCarthy, so when it was announced he would do a Ghostbusters reboot, it was obvious he would be casting her in it. McCarthy has had a few terrible movies, namely Identity Thief and Tammy, where it seemed through all her work she could really only play one type of character.

So of course when you see a trailer for a badly named movie like Spy, you assume it is going to be one long running fat joke. Where it is absurd that she should be in the position she is in and you know, more fat jokes. It isn’t an absurd assumption, given that is what Tammy was, a movie McCarthy even wrote for herself, unable to get herself out of her own type casting.

nuts
If this was a gif, you all would hate me.

Being a spy is a tough job, but thankfully you have a handler back at HQ who helps you out on each and every mission. Bradley Fine (Jude Law) is a spy, and a damn good one at that. But he wouldn’t be anywhere without his handler, Susan Cooper (McCarthy). She helps protect him from surprising bad guys, helps him escape, and just keeps him aware of all of his surroundings! Things can still go wrong, sure, like when Bradley accidentally kills Tihomir Boyanov (Raad Rawi), who is supposed to be the only one alive who knows about some tiny nukes that he wants to sell. Whoops. Oh well, other than that, they are a great team!

Until he dies. She wasn’t too helpful then. He was killed by Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), daughter of that other dead dude. Looks like she knows where the nukes are! She also knows every single spy that we have on record, names and what they look like, so it is incredibly unlikely of any of them being able to get close to her. Now Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney) has no idea what to do, so she agrees to let Susan go undercover to find out more information, with her best friend Nancy (Miranda Hart) serving as her handler. She is supposed to avoid Rayna and instead follow Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale), but, you know, shit happens.

On top of the whole, being a spy thing, she also has to deal with the fact that some of the agents have quit. Namely, Rick Ford (Jason Statham), one of their best, and he wants revenge on Rayna since knows all about him. Too bad she also is the only one who knows about the nukes! Can’t let her be killed as well. Oh golly gumdrops.

Also, hey! We have Will Yun Lee and Zach Woods.

hair
I normally only comment on facial hair, but come on, this is astounding.

Good news, everyone! Spy is not just one long fat joke. Sure, independently, on your own, you could giggle when a larger person does something athletic, but that is on you buddy. No, these jokes come from a deeper level. A lot more of them are based on how she has the body of a middle aged cat lady and the like. Way better than fat jokes.

In all honesty, Spy ended up being a pretty funny movie. Byrne still seems to have come out of nowhere in the comedy world, but she is still knocking it out of the park. Statham was in this movie and he was able to play a very Statham character. And yes, McCarthy of course carried it very, very well.

The action was also pretty decent. I didn’t know how it would end either, because they set it up pretty early that anyone could be killed, not to mention them wanting to earn the R rating.

One thing the film lacks is rewatchability, as in, I don’t ever see myself buying the film because I know I will never be in the mood again. But our female leads are fantastic, even Hart, and Statham provides some nice laughs as well.

3 out of 4.

Ant-Man

If you want a movie in production hell, then you want Ant-Man. Sure, Iron Man was technically in development since the 1990s, but those were with different studios before Marvel got it back in 2006. If you didn’t notice, they then pushed out the movie just two years alter.

Ant-Man, however, was also in development since 2006 and took just nine years to finally get released. That is a long time of trying to make a movie work and never giving up. Well, they technically gave up a little bit. Edgar Wright who was signed on to be the director since the beginning was fired early 2014 from the project which scared a lot of movie fans. Wright is well liked and has an awesome style. And the movie was roughly a year away! How could they do this? And with script re-writes as well!

I will admit that I too overreacted, expecting that Ant-Man would unfortunately be Marvel’s first real disaster of a movie in a long time, possibly meaning bad news for the other new franchises coming down the time lines. But as a not so secretive fanboy, I was also of course hoping for the best.

Yes
Thumbs up, seven new franchises up!

The movie starts in Taylor Swift’s favorite year, 1989, where some dude named Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is upset over S.H.I.E.L.D. turning his science into weapons! He made a Pym Particle, but he refuses to let them have it for warfare, so he quits and starts his own company. It should be noted we get to see Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell), an older Howard Stark (John Slattery), and a random tool, Mitchell Carson (Martin Donovan).

Now, in the present day, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is just getting out of prison. He stole from his corrupt company who took millions from customers and gave it all back. He has a masters in Electrical Engineering, but he is also a pretty great thief it turns out. He has tried getting a regular job, but his crime history makes it hard. No job means no money, which means he can’t pay child support to his ex (Judy Greer), and thus he can’t really see his daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson). To make things worse, the ex is now dating a cop (Bobby Cannavale) which is all sorts of awkward.

So Scott gets with his friend, Luis (Michael Peña), who has a heist for them. With a few friends (David Dastmalchian, T.I.), they are going to rob Pym’s house who has the biggest safe ever. Unfortunately, the only thing in it is an awkward suit.

Turns out it was all a test. (I swear I am not spoiling the whole film). Pym’s company is no longer in his hands, and his protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is about to discover the shrinking secret. Once he gets the formula right, he is going to sell the Yellow Jacket suits to the highest bidder, making an unstoppable army at whomever’s disposal. Their only person on the inside is Pym’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly).

So it is simple. Break into an extremely secure facility, destroy the science and the suits, save the day. A nice heist. Perfect for someone who can shrink and control ants, right? Also Wood Harris! Fuck, I couldn’t fit him in naturally!

PENA
Super powers are overrated, you da real MVP!

Again, it looks like I told too much, but I think I told the basic motivations of our main characters and also threw in most of the side players as well. You got to see the two good guys, where they are coming from, and of course the bad guy.

And I fucking loved it.

Ant-Man had everything I wanted in a Marvel super hero film. It wasn’t ever super drama serious, but it had its touching moments. It was funny, and then it was also hilarious. Many characters brought the charm in. And the action was exciting. The CGI ants I thought would be cheesy, but they worked really well in the context of the rest of the film. Going back and forth between small and large to fight everyone was very slick. There was a wonderful montage and we even got a pretty significant Avenger cameo.

I really need to acknowledge Michael Peña, who was the best part of this movie and for all I know, not based on any comic book character. He was hilarious and I hope he gets to be in future Marvel films.

There was a weak part though. The relationship between Pym and Hope was supposed to be strained, but the actors didn’t act it well and it instead kind of just sucked. I am more incline to place the blame onto Lilly, but it could be that she was just given a weaker character with terrible lines and development.

Ant-Man has it all. It even has a villain who seems realistic and isn’t just a dark brooding figure. He has his own real motivations and a backstory and his arc makes a little bit of sense. Their fight scenes were wonderful. And on paper he may seem like a minor bad guy, but I think he is the best villain since Bucky and Loki.

Bring me more Ant-Man.

4 out of 4.

Danny Collins

Danny Collins is a movie that sort of just sneaked into theaters. It wasn’t heavily advertised, it didn’t have more than 1 screening, and I honestly had never heard of it.

I might have even watched it when it came out, if it didn’t come out against Insurgent. Come on. Teen high school dystopian dramas > everything, am I right?

My biggest concern for this movie is actually Al Pacino, once a great actor, now a guy in a lot of bad movies, like Jack and Jill and Stand Up Guys. He is becoming a bit of a box office turn off for me, just like Robert De Niro. For the most part, they seem to be just showing up to do their scenes and not putting any heart to it, getting their easy pay checks. That is the one thing I will mostly look for in this film. Can Pacino try harder?

DC DC DC
This guy fucks.

Danny Collins (Pacino) used to be a big star. He was wildly famous in the 70s, with lyrics that compared to John Lennon and he was on top of the world. Now, 40 years later, he is still rich and famous and touring, but playing all of his old hits to old fans and kind of just going with the motions and never giving it his all. Huh, sounds a lot like something I talked about not to long ago.

Either way, his long time manager Frank (Christopher Plummer) let’s him know for his birthday that he found a 40 year old letter, written to him by John Lennon that never made it to him. A letter that basically would have changed his life and told him that money and fame aren’t everything. Well fuck, now he is old and feels useless. But there is still a chance. He should just leave his young cheating wife (Katarina Cas), check himself into a hotel and no longer worry about music but instead worry about his life.

So he is going to live in a Hilton hotel, to constantly hit on their manager (Annette Bening), and try to hook up the main receptionist (Melissa Benoist, who is in everything now) and the main valet (Josh Peck). But that isn’t his main goal, no of course not! He actually has a son, Tom (Bobby Cannavale, who is in everything now), whom he has a rocky relationship with. So he wants to fix that up real soon before someone dies and ruins it all. This means he also will have to befriend his wife (Jennifer Garner) and finally meet his granddaughter (Giselle Eisenberg).

Good. A man with a mission. A man who might go back to money fame drugs and playing for old people if he can’t fix his real life before it is too late. Also featuring Brian Smith as a booty call, and Nick Offerman, who has like, a minute of screen time only at the start, but looks cool enough to mention in this review.

couple
At least the casting department got something right. Cannavale could totally be Pacino’s son.

There you go Al Pacino! If you play a part that in some way mirrors your own career for the last five years, you might put some effort into it!

From Pacino I saw passion and I saw an actor who cared about playing his character. Great! And his own enthusiasm made me enjoy the performance and overall, enjoy the movie.

I thought the relationship aspects between Collins and his family felt realistic and avoided tons of cliches. The most unfortunate part about the family was Jennifer Garner though, who had a character that didn’t do a whole lot in the film, so it felt odd for someone of her talent to be used in such a way. This happens a lot with the mom role in films, for whatever reason, but since they had her, one would guess her role would be more substantial.

I was also very impressed with Bening, playing a hotel manager or something. She was able to pull off the professional/dealing with a huge celebrity/not caring about said celebrity really well. And of course, Cannavale was great for many reasons as well.

Danny Collins, a movie that I was afraid would be a bad VH1 made for TV movie, ended up having quite a few strong characters and a unique enough plot to really enjoy. Based loosely off of a real story, but I don’t care about that story, so I didn’t feel like talking about it.

3 out of 4.

Adult Beginners

Every few months, a new indie movie starring a few people from popular TV shows comes out and we are supposed to watch it, eventually, on our own time. Because these movies rarely hit theater and are more of a VOD type situation.

The good and bad news with these sorts of movies is that they are non consistently bad, average, or good, but all over the map so you never know what to expect. Last year we got Drinking Buddies staring that girl from House and that dude from New Girl, and it sucked. But we also got The One I Love starring that girl from Mad Men and that guy from The League, and that one rocked.

So how will Adult Beginners go? The one starring the other guy from The League and the guy from Community and the girl from 30 Rock? Well, anything goes in TV star VOD movie land!

Swimmers
“Ugh, more people from The League? I would not watch that movie.”

Jake (Nick Kroll) is going to make a shit ton of money. And with his money and your money and everyone else’s money put together, he is going to make a shit ton more and make everyone rich. And maybe even make them a little bit sexy. But then something goes wrong, right away with his company, and sure enough, he loses everyone’s money. He is now broke and useless and his friends hate him. Even Hudson (Joel McHale) hates him a bit.

So now Jake is homeless and alone, so he decides to go move in with his sister, Justine (Rose Byrne). He hasn’t seen her in a couple years because he has been “busy” so sure, it is a bit awkward. You know, cause he son is like, 2 or 3 now. And she is pregnant again! And he barely even knows her husband, Danny (Bobby Cannavale). He just knows it is a hectic time in their lives. Unfortunately, the only way they let him live with him long term is if he basically becomes their full time nanny, so they both can work and save up money for new baby and maybe a new house!

Jake of course is an irresponsible adult, and doesn’t know anything about kids. But he accepts, mostly because he has nothing else he can do at that point.

And that is about it. Jake needs to learn how to be an adult, for real. He is a beginner at being an adult. He also can’t swim. Jane Krakowski is a swimming teacher for adults and babies and dances with babies in water. It isn’t super weird, don’t worry. And Jason Mantzoukas is in here, because he is crazy and Nick Kroll’s friend.

Dinner
“I didn’t invite Jason, did you invite Jason?”
“No I didn’t invite Jason, did you invite Jason, Nick?”
“Yeah I totally did, suck it.”

Rose Byrne is becoming a relatively big name now, which is great for her. She is appearing in all the genres right now: Horror, Drama, Comedy, Action and generally being great in each one of those roles. Most surprising is comedy because it seemingly came out of nowhere with Neighbors. The problem with Adult Beginners is it is one of those classic comedies that doesn’t end up being actually funny.

Hopefully the positive buzz that has surrounded Spy is enough to make everyone ignore this movie. Ignoring it shouldn’t be an issue, because no one will really watch it when it is VOD. I just want to make sure her career is not affected by the dullness of this film.

As for everyone else? Cannavale is a likable dude, even if he always plays mostly douche-y characters, but he hasn’t had any nice break outs yet. Likewise, Kroll always plays douches, but occasionally has comedic sparks that do not go on display during this movie.

A comedy that doesn’t end up being funny, with serious moments that also aren’t too dramatic or emotional. Yep, this is a classic indie film in that regard, which most of the time would garner a 2 out of 4 or something, but they usually have one or two unique moments in them to warrant a bump. I am willing to say Adult Beginners offers nothing new and leaves me with a bored taste on my mouth.

In case you are curious, boring taste is like cardboard.

1 out of 4.

Annie

Welcome back to Musical Week!

The realest reason for Musical Week is that this December had two musicals coming out only a week apart, which meant I only had to find 3 more. Into The Woods was yesterday, and Annie is today!

When I first heard there was an Annie remake, I was mostly indifferent. I didn’t know if we needed a new one, but hey okay. But when I heard she wouldn’t be a tap dancing ginger, but a BLACK GIRL? I was still mostly indifferent. At least there was a change for the remake so that it wasn’t just rehashed material. It would allow them to do a more modern version, not one set in the way back early times.

But then I saw the first trailer. I knew something was weird and different and off from it. And it is an unfortunate change. But one I will clickbait tactic and wait to talk about at the end of the review.

Rooftop Dance
And it isn’t just that when I do this dance, I always look like I have to take a pouty poop.

Little Orphan Annie (Quvenshane Wallis). No, wait, fuck that. She is just a foster kid, not an orphan. She has parents, she just doesn’t know who they are or when they will be back for her. She just knows that maybe, one day, she will see them on a Friday night at a local Italian restaurant eating cannolis.

But while being chased one day by some jerks, she falls in the street and almost gets run over! But thankfully, a man is there to pick her up and chastise her. That man is Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), the owner of a NYC based phone company that is hugely successful, so he is totally rich, and he is also running for mayor! He isn’t doing that great though. He is super behind. Well, footage goes out of him saving Little Foster Girl Annie on the internets, which gives him a bump up. His campaign manager (Bobby Cannavale) convinces him that if he temporarily takes Annie in and make him seem more charitable.

Annie is a free going individual who understands this is just for publicity, and she is cool with that. Getting to live in a rich house for a few weeks? Hells yeah. She doesn’t want him for a dad anyways, she wants her real parents, who will totally come eventually. Maybe tomorrow even. Or the tomorrow after that.

What could go wrong? Also featuring Rose Byrne, Cameron Diaz, David Zayas, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Stephanie Kurtzuba.

Finale
No, trust me, I counted them. Definitely 76 trombones.

Let’s talk about…pop music. Some of it is good, a lot can be bad, even more of it is catchy. That is what this version of Annie is, for the most part. Just pop music broadway. And that is my major complaint. The songs don’t feel as natural as musicals usually strive for. It didn’t have that extra bellow or personality behind the notes that made me care about the lyrics and not just nod my head to a tune. Kids in general like all kinds of music, so a different sound to all of the sounds doesn’t feel warranted.

This is the second thing I have seen Wallis in, the first being Beasts Of Southern Wild, which I kind of hated. She is fine as Annie. She really is. She has charisma and she is charming and she carries that strong independent feeling with her the whole movie.

Everyone else? Ehhh. Byrne did decent. Diaz only annoyed me.

And Foxx. Come on, Foxx. I know you can sing. I remember Gold Digger quite vividly. Was your role in that song fake? I am starting to believe it. You had passion in your lines and feeling in your voice. Every song with Jaime Foxx is terrible. His voice is ridiculously soft for most of them, so I felt like I had to strain to hear him and there is just nothing of substance behind any of them. I kind of felt he was just talking his lines. Maybe they accidentally put in the mumble take? They are just down right terrible.

But you know what bugs me the most? The finale, when they re-did Tomorrow? Despite how terrible I thought the music was in the movie and thus how bad the movie was, it still made me tear up. Just a little bit. Great lyrics can do that. Balloons help.

So who is to blame for this? Will Smith and Jay-Z. They are producers, must be their fault.

1 out of 4.