Movie Roundup – Online Releases 2018

Welcome to a Movie Roundup! A movie roundup features a few films that I didn’t feel like making full reviews for, but needed to get basic reviews out there for completionist reasons. It also helps me deal with my backlog. It may have a theme, and today’s theme is Online Releases 2018! Basically, things that started out on the internet, ideally a streaming website, because it is a loose theme, and I will take it.

Being on a movie round up doesn’t mean a movie is inherently bad, or good, or meh. I can feature any rating on here! So don’t assume the worst! I will also just post the reviews in alphabetical order.


Online Releases 2018

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Can we go wrong with the Coen brothers? Yes, we totally can. But I can’t help but feel something wonderful when they continually try to do something different, or make the normal a lot more eccentric. This time, they went back to the former, while also going back to some of those old timey western roots, which are arguably their best movies. Except this time, it is straight to Netflix, and an Anthology movie with six short films instead. The only connection? Western.

This ends up working really well, even if I can say I didn’t love every part of the anthology. Unfortunately, the best and most fun was the first of the stories, and probably me least favorite was number two. I really enjoyed the one about the prospectors and the woman with her not dog too. When it works, it really works, and when it doesn’t work, it is still well made and a bit beautiful, if not full of fuckery. This is not a happy movie, and it can easily be watched in parts, and deserves praise for its individual shorts that work out amazingly well.

3 out of 4.

Ballad
None of these people share a scene with the others.

The Kissing Booth

On the other hand, Netflix has made it clear its strategy isn’t to appeal to just the best movie ever, but to instead go for all the demographics so that they all have something to watch, which is fair. Netflix having a shit movie doesn’t mean that Netflix is bad, I just don’t have to watch it…if I am a normal movie goer.

But this movie is something else, and it has crawled out of the pits of hell thanks to some teenage girl. Yeah, it is based on a book, written by a teenage girl, on some website, and now its a movie. An uninspired romance movie, that seems to rely on the kissing booth as a feature, despite not being featured too heavily in the grand scope. It features a love interest who is super controlling, threatening, and uses his fists to solve problems. Ah, what good values to instill in our youth.

0 out of 4.

Kissing
Help, help, I’m trapped in a 90s movie.

My Dinner with Hervé

Over on HBO, they also like to do movies, and shows, and documentaries. In this one, we have dudes as the stars, with one of them being one of their biggest stars of their biggest show. Makes sense. Peter Dinklage playing a biographical role, of possibly the most famous little person in history (before Peter Dinklage and Verne Troyer), Hervé Villechaize. Made famous for being in Fantasy Island and The Man With The Golden Gun.

Now, this is all according to a journalist, but it is based on the night out on the town with Hervé, where he also recounts his whole life story leading up to the point, his rises, and his many many downfalls. Dinklage does an amazing job of transforming himself, or what I know about himself, and this is an extremely touching tale of a childhood of abuse and sadness, while still trying to make something about it. It never seems to go deep enough into the sadder parts though, and probably skirts around important details. I just knew that it started off way better than it eventually ended.

2 out of 4.

DINNer
And that is also true about life, I suppose.

Slice

Slice might not technically fit this theme, because it came out on VOD, but hey, my themes are loose, and I want it in this post. Slice is the type of movie that is just so out there, it is hard to believe that it even exists. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, murder mystery, pizza store, witches, and such a strange plot and concept. It is the type of movie that when describing it you know will have a cult following and probably LARPing in the future.

But in all honestly, it just doesn’t work out well. The only redeeming factor is that it definitely feels original. It just is a weird mash of ideas that aren’t fully explained because it isn’t fully thought through. It is cool, it is weird, but it is definitely not good.

1 out of 4.

sLIce
Although, it made me want pizza, so good job there.

The Tale

Finally, another HBO movie (sorry Hulu), that I didn’t even know came out this last summer. I would have never known it existed if it didn’t get nominated for a Spirit award. I mean, it has a big name in it, and it is about sexual abuse when someone was a child. Sure, a fictional tale, but a tale that resonates due to how often similar “tales” have been told by other girls in relation to their coaches while growing up. Hell, the gymnastics scandal was in 2018, maybe even going on after this movie. It is very relevant.

Dern plays someone very vulnerable and stubborn at the same time. It doesn’t end with fireworks, but plays it in a more realistic way. More importantly, the girl who plays the younger version is amazing at her role. Her acting, in normal kid way, amplifies the creepiness of everything. It puts the viewer in a dark place and really helps bring the hate towards these sexual predators.

3 out of 4.

tale
These two adults are now on my despise list, well done!

Overall, steaming platforms put out a lot of duds, and some successes. And especially Netflix, because I will never catch up on on their new releases. Or, maybe I will, if I just keep the review format like this and not larger. But these ones caught my eye for some reason or another and I chose them to watch to review, and never got around to actually writing.

Paddington 2

Paddington 2 was probably one of my most looking forward to films for awhile. No, not some big superhero film, or a drama with all of my favorite actors. Paddington. Two.

The first one was just a delight. It was cute, funny, and it felt like the perfect family film. It didn’t help that Europe got it so much earlier than other parts of the world, so I heard about its praise, and I just wanted more.

Who would have thought that a little bear could bring the world together so much? Well, the makers of the first Paddington, I guess.

Family
A successful family film always needs a big family so everyone can relate to someone.

Things are changing in the Brown household. The kids (Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin) are changing their appearances and hobbies, the mother (Sally Hawkins) wants to go on adventures and is training to swim to France, and the father (Hugh Bonneville) is going through a big midlife crisis because he feels old and is missing promotions at work.

But Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is just chill. He is helping his neighbors, making the world a brighter place, and really just finding a place to exist. He does want to get a gift for his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) though, which leads him to a sweet pop up book of London! It is very detailed and it will let her experience London like she always wanted to. But the book is rare, so Paddington will have to get a few jobs in order to pay for it.

What Paddington doesn’t know, is there are others out there that will go to great lengths to get that book, even if it means Paddington ends up in Prison as a result.

Also starring Hugh Grant, Michael Gambon, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, and Brendan Gleeson.

Prison
Jails are just a red herring of course. Or a pink herring.

At the time of writing this review, Paddington 2 has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. And that isn’t based on only 20 or so reviews, it is based on ONE HUNDRED NINETY-SIX reviews! That is almost 200 people who agreed that it didn’t suck. Of course it doesn’t mean it is a perfect film, just everyone found it overall good and gave a positive impression. And that is frankly unheard of in this day in age.

Of course while watching it, I found myself chuckling a few times. Just the generic slapstick portions as Paddington flails about trying to do human things are worth it. The story goes really well together and ends with a lot of the pieces coming together quite nicely.

Most importantly, it is a film with a simple story and that works in its favor. It is slow enough moving that even those younger kids will be able to follow along and enjoy it, while not being too slow or boring for adults. The family was funny enough. And Grant was very good in his role, and at a very good age and time in his career to play something like he did.

It doesn’t resort to violence, it resorts to smarts, and maybe some bonking, but not an all out brawl.

Hooray!

3 out of 4.

Assassin’s Creed

A Christmas release? Could it finally happen? Could Assassin’s Creed be the chosen one?

Ever since Super Mario Bros. we have been turning video games into movies and hoping it would finally work. Some early examples like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat at have their moments, but still fall short and feel cheesy. Other noble attempts include Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, and Final Fantasy: Advent Children is one that I personally adore. But year after years they are met with criticism.

They try and provide fan service but if they do too much they don’t make an understandable film for those who don’t play the game. If they abandon the game, fanboys get mad. And yes, most just don’t try.

But in a year with FOUR movies based on video games (Ratchet & Clank, Warcraft, The Angry Birds Movie) Assassin’s Creed has the potential to finally break the mold. It has well liked actors, a director with a vision, and it is based on a game with a decent story.

Fight
And hey look, fights! Most video game movies have these!

In this world, there is a secret order of Templars and a secret order of Assassins. The Templars wants to find the legendary Apple of Eden, which holds genetic code and if they get it, apparently they can control everyone’s free will? Crazy yeah. The Assassins don’t like that, and they want to stop them, because they like free will.

In modern times, Cal Lynch (Michael Fassbender) is getting executed in Texas for murder. His dad killed his mom way back when and he is violent too. But after his “Death”, he finds himself woken up in Spain in an Abstergo Industries compound. He is not dead! According to this doctor lady, Sofia (Marion Cotillard) he is no longer a prisoner, but if he helps them out, they will give him a new identity, wealth, and he will live out his life.

It turns out that one of Cal’s relatives in 1492 was one of those Assassin people! And that guy’s DNA also runs in his blood. Abstergo has developed a machine that will let someone experience these DNA memories as if they were real, in order to gain knowledge. They believe that Cal’s ancestor, Aguilar, was the last person to see the Apple of Eden, and they want it, damn it.

So Cal has to deal with his past anger, his current anger, and determine how much he wants to help out these strangers in exchange for a whole new life. But hey, maybe these memories on their own can give him a whole new life. A whole new…Assassin life.

Also featuring Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michelle H. Lin, Denis Ménochet, Ariane Labed, and Essie Davis.

cw
This whole scene feels like a “Previously on The CW” advertisement.

If I could wipe away the memory of the many hours I have spent playing these games, in order to give an unbiased review, I would. But alas it is all still a part of me, despite being a new story.

The film was an unfortunate mess. It begins with scrolling text as a quick way to introduce you to the plot, but it will make those not knowledgable with the game roll their eyes. After the exposition, we still take awhile to get to the main point of the story, where they have to give even more explanations to show how it is a story within a story. The time spent just setting things up will make the casual viewer bored or the at the very least, confused.

The ending is also a huge mess. It goes past the logical ending point to maintain some mystery and instead tacks on an additional ten minutes that drag it out needlessly. I am advocating that a more open ending would have done this film wonders for once, as it badly wants to become a franchise.

But it isn’t all bad. In a way, Assassins Creed is really just a disappointment. Fassbender is excellent in this film, he feels tortured, morally confused, and is a nice lead. The action sequences get really intense at points with a few callbacks to the series. The biggest callback are the leaps of face, which take forever to actually occur and are mostly teased out and ruined. It didn’t have too many game call backs though, which will disappoint those fans of the series.

Having the Spain portions in Spanish did add a nice element to it. Only a few real historical connections to the events though. If they had instead picked the original games story it might have allowed a better plotted movie.

It is still relatively nice to look at. It isn’t anywhere close to Macbeth levels of cinematography, but it is still above average.

Assassin’s Creed was supposed to be the chosen one of video games, especially after Warcraft. While still better than the norm, it was still unable to raise the bar that much higher on the video game film.

2 out of 4.

Song of the Sea

Ah-ha! The elusive Song of the Sea! I have found it at last.

I tried to get all five of the animated picture movies ahead of the Aademy Awards, but I only reached four. Damn foreign flicks. And the only reason I got to see it finally was because of its DVD release. I can’t feel the least bit special about this, outside of completing them all.c

I don’t think I have ever seen a movie from Ireland/Wales. So this is a big first one for me! Outside of the ones with the fancy footwork. This means I am a bit excited to see what I assume will be fancy footwork in animated form.

Unless the Leprechaun movies count. Then I have seen too many from Ireland/Wales. They should stop having movies at this point.

Hair
“You guys have Rapunzel? Fuck your Rapunzel. We got /this/ guy!”

This film, like any good animated film, starts with the death of a parent. Parents! Who needs ’em!

Ben (David Rawle) lives in a lighthouse, with his dog, Co, his father (Brendan Gleeson), and his mother (Lisa Hannigan). The mom is pregnant, and they want to finish the painting of the selkie, a Celtic myth.

PLOT TWIST. Pregnancy is a bit bad. Comes early. Mom dies. Saoirse (Lucy O’Connell) is born. And it is not pronounced the way it looks. Six years later, Saoirse still can’t talk. She just doesn’t like it. And after a few close calls with the ocean, their granny (Fionnula Flanagan) takes them back to the city to live away from the sea and their life and their dog.

Well, Ben says fuck that. He is going to run away and escape back to his dog and his life. Screw the city. And I guess his sister can come too, as long as she listens to him. Oh yeah, she also found a magical cloak that can turn her into a seal. Totes cool. And a magical conch shell. And like, fairies and owls and other crazy shit.

I am trying to say Saoirse is a selke.

Also featuring Colm O’Snodaigh, Liam Hourican, and Kevin Swierszcz, which is the hardest last name I’ve ever had to type. I am in no way confident it is spelled right.
in

Clothes
Lord of the Dance prepared me zero for this shapechanging shenanigans.

Well, first of all, I am happy to announce that the pictures above do not do this film justice. This film is pretty. Prettier than a cat in a shark costume. Was it prettier than Big Hero 6, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, How To Train Your Dragon 2, or The Boxtrolls? Well, maybe one of them. I won’t say too. Because basically everything was pretty in their own unique way. And it has its charm and simplicity that goes along with it.

Also, the main characters were cute as well. Going on their adventure, solving problems. Sure, the girl is a selke, so she has a huge important role. But Ben does his fair share of problem solving along with Saoirse. They are pretty equal. And of course the Dog.

There is only like one song, but it is decently catchy. Wish there was more.

But if I had any problem with it, it seemed to move too slowly at times. If you could imagine a person telling a story, and that person keeps getting distracted and rambling every once in awhile? That is what it felt like watching this movie. Just every once in awhile. Kind of just hoped it would hurry up and move on. Not losing complete interest, just a little bit.

I can see why this one was nominated, but also, I definitely don’t think it was the best overall.

3 out of 4.

The Grand Seduction

Seduction is all about the hair wiggling.

What? You can’t wiggle your hair? Then you have to wiggle your hips. Can’t wiggle your hips? Then wiggle your fat stacks of cash, because that is the only other way you might be able to seduce someone.

Thankfully, I have the first two going for me, so I don’t need a guide to seduction, which hopefully The Grand Seduction isn’t about. I’d imagine it could be about seduction on a big level, like maybe a thousand people at once.

Yeah, that would be a grand seduction, wouldn’t it?

Seduction
Or maybe it is on how to form the sexiest three way known to man?

Tickle Head, a quaint small island village in Newfoundland, Canada. Shit, even the setting for this film is arousingly seductive. It used to be a nice place to live, where the locals mostly fished their way into happiness, earning a living and a decent wage while doing what they loved. They are the type of people who live there their whole life and don’t ever want to leave.

Like Murray French (Brendan Gleeson)! His dad had a lot of kids, a loud loving wife, and earned his life of small town luxury. That is all Murray wants to do, too. But the fish cant be fished anymore for a wage, so all the men and town and Murray line up to collect their welfare checks and feel down right miserable.

But there is hope. Indeed. There is talks of a petrochemical company setting up a factory there. The mayor is offering a lot of incentives. They don’t want to work at a petrochemical company necessarily, they just want to work, no matter the job. The only (major) issue is that the town doesn’t have a doctor. They have been trying to get one for eight years but no one wants to live in their small community.

Well, through some underhanded means, they are able to line one up! Dr. Lewis (Taylor Kitsch), a cricket lover and doctor has to spend a month in their small town. If they can convince him that they are a special and unique place and like all the same things he does, then they can have him live there. Then they convince the company to come. Then they can earn a living. Yes. How excellent.

Also with random townspeople, like Mark Critch, Liane Balaban, Gordon Pinsent, and Matt Watts more.

Docta
“And this is where we stare out into the sea, noting the loneliness of existence.”

Without a doubt, I can say I probably learned a lot about seduction from this film. Getting that small village of only a hundred or so individuals to work together for a month on a common goal. Sure, some may see the entire thing as deceit or a lie. Some may say that it the spying on his phone line is down right despicable. Some may say a lot of things, but by golly, it was entertaining.

I was quite surprised at how funny I found this whole movie. I put off watching the film for at least 2 days thinking it would be boring or elitist, but it was really none of those things. This is actually a remake of another movie, translated to Seducing Doctor Lewis, which came from the wildly distance area of Quebec. Sure, some would say it is weird for a country to remake a movie from the same country, but 1) Quebec is nothing like the rest of Canada (basically, it is their Texas), and 2) America remakes its own shit all the time.

The Grand Seduction has a lot of charm, wittiness, and charisma, while also maintaining that uncultured small town vibe. Which, I guess is even more so the point of a film titled like this one.

Brendan Gleeson is turning into an entertaining actor, and to think he is only turning 60 next year. Kitsch is playing a role unlike a lot of his other things as well.

If I was this movie, I’d be able to end this review less awkwardly too. Let’s just say that.

3 out of 4.

Calvary

Brendan Gleeson is one of those actors who took a really long time to get noticed. He had nice dramatic roles and a sweet Irish accent, but lets face it. His looks probably held him back. But now that he has a distinguished old guy look, his talents are more noticed and he is getting leading roles.

A few years ago, he got The Guard, and now he gets the movie Calvary. Both black comedies / dramas in a way too. I guess it is okay to have a genre niche.

Butcher
I am surprised the “Movies With Scenes In A Meat Locker” genre hasn’t taken off more fully, either.

Let’s pretend you are Father James Lavelle (Brendan Gleeson). You are an old man, running a small Irish Catholic church in a tiny community. There are only a few other priests in the area, like Father Leary (David Wilmot). That means a lot of soul saving falls on one man.

During mass on a Sunday, in confessional time, a person says that they were abused by a Catholic priest when they were younger and goes into great detail. The priest has since died, but the man is still angry. He wants to get back at the Catholic Church, and to do that, he wants to kill a good priest to send a strong message. He wants to kill Father James Lavelle. In exactly one week he will come back to kill him, in order to get his affairs in order. Then he leaves.

Huh. That is terrifying. There are only a few people in the area, so it can only be a few people. But who?

Here is a vague list of actor names of characters, instead of talking about all of them individually. I even threw in a woman, too. (Chris O’ Dowd, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Isaach De Bankole, M. Emmet Walsh, Domhnall Gleeson, Marie-Josee Croze).

Oh yeah. Let’s not forget that he also has a daughter, Fiona Lavelle (Kelly Reilly), as part of his marriage before he became a priest.

As the story gets closer and closer to Sunday, more and more sinful activities seem to take place in his town, as if the whole world is going to Hell, and there is nothing the Father can do about it.

Family
In true Irish fashion, his daughter of course is a ginger.

Despite the similar genres, The Guard and Calvary aren’t very similar. This film is much heavier on the drama and symbolism, while The Guard has more comedy, lewd behavior, and shooting of guns.

Gleeson puts on a heck of a show though, and even though I recognize his face in plenty of sinful characters from the past, I feel like it fits the best in a Catholic suit garb. Whatever those robes are called. He fit the character really well, including the few times in the movie where he broke down and did non Priesty things.

The supporting cast was especially up there for me, especially Dowd and Moran. Moran in general was just impressive with his character, and Dowd was impressive being in a more dramatic role which is rare for him. I have only seen Gillen in Game of Thrones, but his character is also pretty great. It is also nice to see Reilly in a controversial role after her last terrible role in Heaven Is For Real.

Overall, this is a really great and powerful movie. It might be pretty easy to get lost in some of the symbolism, or really figuring out where it is all going. I know I didn’t understand the whole thing without some additional research (and some of that research feels bullshit). Definitely a movie you might have to watch more than once to get the full impact of it.

3 out of 4.

Edge Of Tomorrow

Live. Die. Repeat. That is the slogan of Edge of Tomorrow, which people were quickly to point out that it looks like Groundhog Day, but more sci-fi/action and a lot less Bill Murray.

The title is kind of strange, but way better than its original title of All You Need Is Kill, the title of the story that the film is based on. I mean. Just seriously, what the hell does that mean? The time traveling element allows Edge of Tomorrow to make some sense. But All You Need Is Kill? I can’t even begin to unawkwardize it.

Face
Tomorrow? Tom, you might first have to worry about the edge of your face, first.

In Future Earth, Aliens have invaded, landing in the middle of Europe, and kind of just fucking up everything. Things are going bad. These “mimics”, as they seem to adapt to military strategy pretty well, are just destroying and taking out battalions, always knowing what is going to go down. Until we design awesome battle suits, and they seem to crush the mimics. Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) is able to kill 100 mimics by herself in a battle, helping turn the tide of war. So now they are going to organize a massive attack from different flanks, thousands of soldiers in battle suits, to help turn the tide of war!

And Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is being asked to join them. Storm the beach with a media crew, to show the good tidings and have them give hope to the world. Cage isn’t a real soldier, he is just in media, doesn’t even know how to fight. So of course he refuses, but well, higher ups demanded it and now he found himself waking up a day before the invasion at an airforce base, with papers saying he is a private and a deserter. Oh, poor Major.

Needless to say, the invasion fails, and after getting covered in alien blood goop, the Major dies and wakes up…back at the airforce base! This can’t be! But you know this part of the plot. It appears the Major is now stuck in some sort of time loop causing him to relive this day over and over. That could drive a man mad. But maybe it can help them save the day?

Bill Paxton plays Master Sergeant Farrell Bartolome, Brendan Gleeson as General Brigham, and Noah Taylor as a alien biology scientist. Of course he also got soldier friends in his unit, but I don’t remember them individually enough to type out character names (Tony Way, Kick Gurry, Franz Drameh, Charlotte Riley, Jonas Armstrong, Dragomir Mrsic).

No Battle Suits
In a world of do-overs, there is rarely a need for emergency kits.

As an additional note about this movie, I got to see this one in IMAX 3D, my first time watching a film this way, and oh boy were the fight scenes something else. Spectacular, pretty, explosion heavy. So much going on. Without sounding cliche, I was often near the edge of my seat because it was so exciting to watch it all.

Exciting and amusing. They didn’t drown us in the same scene over and over, just a few minor ones to get the point. On his first repeat day, we didn’t have to see Cage freaking out the entire length of his first travel time. They knew how to keep it short when needed. When it was short, we often got blasted with different ways he died as he tried new things to make it further during the war. Sometimes it was hilarious, but when it was frustrating, they knew how to play that card as well.

So these are good first steps! Good action, good comedy, a nice sci-fi element. But how about the plot? That surprisingly was well done too. How the alien armies worked, the secret to taking them down, why Cage was stuck in a loop, all of it was given a nice rationale and well thought out to make it believable in that universe.

Literally, I don’t know how they could have made the movie better either. You get to see so much and it is a thrill ride, but it doesn’t feel like a 4 out of 4 film to me, which is sometimes all it takes to lower the rating I guess. A very exciting movie, despite what I went in thinking, and a nice notch to add to a list of recent well done sci-fi movies. I think it is going to bomb financially this weekend too, as audiences apparently don’t like Tom Cruise anymore, which is a shame, because it is strong showing still pretty early in this summer.

3 out of 4.

The Smurfs 2

To answer the first question on everyone’s mind, yes I did dress up like a Smurf for the premiere of The Smurfs 2. It was smurftastic!

Initially, watching the trailer, I was enraged at the plot. In a nutshell, Gargamel (Hank Azaria) tried to create a couple of Smurfs, but they turned out grey and evil. He needs to know how to make them blue, to extract their essence and then become a powerful sorcerer. But they can only get the formula from Smurfette (Katy Perry), who they have to convince to be naughty and join their force.

Cake cake cake
NAUGHTY. NAUGHTY. NAUGHTY.
Why does that upset me? Because I know that Smurfette was a Gargamel creation in the first place (Despite the first movie contradicting that statement). He wanted to create chaos in an all male Smurf society, by introducing a woman. That makes sense. So why did he have problems creating more Smurfs? Oh, because the movie changed things up a bit. More importantly, they explained it all and made it completely reasonable.

In this world, Smurfette was also originally gray, until Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters) turned her true blue and into a happy go lucky Smurf. Yay! Now everything is okay! Only her and Papa Smurf know the formula, which is why they steal her back into the real world to beat it out of her…with kindness. It is also Smurfette’s birthday, and as the Smurfs tried to keep the party a secret, she assumed no one remembered and felt quite sad. Poor Smurfette.

Due to some miscalculations, the rescue team consists of Papa Smurf, Vanity Smurf (John Oliver), Grumpy Smurf (George Lopez), and Clumsy Smurf (Anton Yelchin).

Oh, but they aren’t alone. No, they have human friends from the first film! Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays), their son, and Patrick’s step-dad, Victor (Brendan Gleeson).

Can this rag tag group of Smurfs find and convince Smurfette they love her before time runs out? Or will the Naughties, Vexy (Christina Ricci) and Hackus (J.B. Smoove) get to her first?

Cat cat cat
But let’s not forget about dat cat.
I actually left out a lot of the minor plot points in this one. You’re welcome, that means the movie will be a bit more surprising if you head out to see it. Honestly, it might be worth it if you have a family.

You don’t have to see the first film to understand this film, you just need to know that they have some human friends. Pretty standard for a family film.

What can you get out of the Smurfs? A lot of smurfin’ puns. Smurf this, smurf that, puns everywhere. Hank Azaria continues to be a smurfing excellent Gargamel. The work he puts into the voice and that character is beyond phenomenal. It is smurfing nuts!

I laughed quite a bit at some of the jokes. The fact that the plot made sense in this universe only made it better. However, there were a few smurf problems.

Vanity Smurf? I wish they killed off some Smurfs. As one of the three main personalities on the trek, being narcissistic, he ALWAYS talks. Unfortunately, everything he says is the exact same vain pun, over and over again. It got smurfing real fast. At least Grumpy Smurf had an interesting plot line. Clumsy Smurf was ignored completely. They had the chance to branch out and give us some newer Smurfs to highlight, but they didn’t.

Really, if they make another Smurfs movie, I hope they keep them in their own world. If they want, bring NPH and the other humans to them this time. Their world has plenty of lore, magic, and fun to be a great setting. Most of all, it has more than a handful of Smurfs, so everyone can fight for the metaphorical spotlight.

 

2 out of 4.

Black Irish

Black Irish is one of those random DVDs I bought when the local Blockbuster went under. Why? I saw an actor I knew on the cover, huzzah!

Shit, it was 99 cents.

Either way, apparently Black Irish is a famous term that means something else. What is that something else? Well, it is…

Black Irish
Yep. Literally a black irish person. Moving on.

The McKays are a normal Irish-Catholic Boston family, accents and all. Desmond (Brendan Gleeson), the dad, is drowning himself with alcohol and pity, while keeping deep guarded secrets. The oldest brother, Terry (Tom Guiry), is turning to a life of crime and drugs. Kathleen (Emily VanCamp) got pregnant, but not married, and kicked out of her house. Cole (Michael Angarano) got Catholic schooling and is a great pitcher, but no real love and his parents are hitting low times, so he wants to transfer to a regular public school and get a job.

Margaret (Melissa Leo), is just standing back watching it all crumble beneath her.

But mostly, this is a story of Cole, trying to get his family to like him more by giving up the privileges that were given to him. Go to the same school as his brother. Get a girlfriend maybe. Get a job at an Italian restaurant with Joey (Michael Rispoli). But when you return to the streets, the streets sometimes doesn’t want you back. No matter how hard you (base)ball.

Also, check it, Francis Capra is a thug in here, just like he was in Veronica Mars.

Family
Theory: They are using the term black in a negative term. Like bad Irish. Because that family is white.

My metaphorical hat for this movie would be tipped toward Mr. Gleeson. An actual Irishman, he had to speak the same accent with a more Boston drag, and did it well. His character gave the most feels for me.

Angarano was good too, sure, especially in the “shoe shining” scene. Great emotion. Not as good as other movies I have raved about in other reviews on this website though.

Unfortunately not all of the plot lines are good. The sister one? I was kind of confused by how little time they devoted to telling the story. Melissa Leo is nice, but I think she was completely underused. This was mostly the two brothers and the dad story.

Overall, it is an okay story. It could have been a lot better, if the plot was a bit better and more polished. After all, the main actors were good. Just. Needed. A Better. Story.

2 out of 4.

The Company You Keep

Robert Redford is starring in a movie!

That should be the first thing out of your mouth, seeing The Company You Keep. The other thing you will notice is it has quite a hefty list of famous actors thrown into the mix. Robert Redford doesn’t act much anymore, but when he does, he calls out all the stops.

Robert Redford
See? This is him literally calling out all the stops.
From watching movies, I have learned that the 1960’s were a terrible time. But hey, terrible times lead to great movies about how terrible it all was. War, protests, the whole shabang. Some protesters couldn’t stand being peaceful though, like the Weather Underground movement. These group of youngsters thought they saw their government committing terrible crimes, so they wanted to get their attention back at home by blowing stuff up, and maybe even murder.

They also were never caught in the act and prosticuted. Until now.

Sharon (Susan Sarandon) has just been picked up by the cops, wanted in the murder of a cop from the ’60s. They have everything on her and all of her phone logs. Thanks to some reporter with gusto, (Shia LaBeouf), an article was published linking lawyer Jim Grant (Robert Redford) to the crimes and a nationwide manhunt for his arrest. Hooray! Take that violent political activist from the ’60s!

But did he really do the crimes he is being accused of? If he is innocent, why would he run? After all, the FBI (Terrence Howard) and newspaper editors (Stanley Tucci) all seem to think he’s guilty. Yet for some reason, he is being erratic, and looking really hard for one Mimi Lurie (Julie Christie). Hmm, I wonder what she has to do with all of this mess.

There are far too many famous (and famous-ish) actors to just throw their name casually in the plot, so I will just list them all here: Richard JenkinsAnna KendrickBrendan GleesonBrit MarlingSam ElliottStephen RootNick Nolte and Chris Cooper.

Laboofie
Stephen Root is standing next to lettuce. Yep, nothing to see here.
The first thing I noticed is that Robert Redford no longer looks identical to Brad Pitt. But hey, now we know what Brad Pitt will look like in about 20 years.

Looking at Redford’s work schedule, he hasn’t been in a movie since 2007, but he has at least two more on the pipeline. The more notable one is Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Even better, the reason he is in the Marvel Sequel is just because he hasn’t ever played a role like it and thought it would be fun. I love it when actors tell the truth.

As for The Company You Keep, it has an interesting story behind it, but in the end it is just okay. It takes a little bit to get going, and kind of fuddled up in the middle, but it all makes a lot of sense by the end. Not that I actually liked the ending, as I thought there were multiple cop outs from various characters in the film. Acting was fine, just like Lawless, I didn’t hate Shia by the end of it, but he wasn’t exceptional in it either. Seeing him with facial hair (well, the small amount he could pull off) was an interesting change at least!

In other news, watch it only if you are missing Robert Redford in your normal life and like slow moving political-ish thrillers.

2 out of 4.

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