Tag: Comedy

The Never List

Never have I ever….made a list.

Actually, now that I made that dumb first sentence, I will note that there has been a few horror films based on dumb drinking games. We’ve had Truth or Dare. Would You Rather. Has there been a strange horror movie made on Never Have I Ever? Someone needs to get on that if not.

The Never List is not a horror film, or based on a dumb teenage drinking game. But it is horrible, and it is dumb, but I will get more on that later.

kiss
Hey look, they cloned Olivia Munn and made her young again. 

Eva (Fivel Stewart) and Liz (Brenna D’Amico) are best friends. Known each other their whole lives. Eva is a bit of an overachiever and doer-, Liz is a bit more wild, but they hang out, pretend to be rock stars, draw and like the same things. It is a good relationship.

It was good. Until Liz had to go and die one night, presumably in a car crash (they don’t really explicitly say). Eva is now devastated. Her best friend. Gone. During her junior year of high school, which is usually one of the top 4 hardest years in high school. Eva has a lot going on. She agreed to run for class president for her senior year. She is trying to pick out a junior prom theme. She is trying to get good grades for colleges. Her parents (Keiko Agena, Matt Corboy), especially her mom, are making sure she is always doing things to make her life in the future better.

Well, Liz and Eva had made up cartoon characters that they drew in stories. They were actually more badass than either of them. And they would make up things for them to do, that neither of them would ever dream of doing. It made up their Never List, because they are good girls, damn it. In a moment of weakness, Eva decides to sexually assault someone running in the park, one of the items on the list! (Well, it was to pinch a stranger’s ass, and she did it, so I am not wrong with my description).

Liz has a lot going on, and she wants to just throw it all away to be an artist. She wants to raise money for a summer program with her favorite graphic novelist, because her parents would never agree to that. And sure, if she gets stuff done on the list, that would also be swell. Who cares if she throws away the rest of her life in the process. Grief is weird I guess?

Also starring Andrew Kai, Anna Grace Barlow, Jonathan Bennett, and Ryan Cargill.

consolting
Hey, you know what really helps with grief? Cocaine. 

Normally this sort of film, which plays out like a made for TV movie, would be the type of thing I still probably would have avoided and given a 1 out of 4 if I had to see it. It isn’t fun, or dramatic, not sure which way it really wants to go. It is pretty damn basic. The things on the list range from harmless, to sexual assault. Not just ass pinching. She needs to trick someone into taking Viagra to embarrass him in public. This leads to a bunch of homophobic slurs being used, and the movie does a really poor job of quelling that aspect. Like…really poor.

The acting was really low across the board. Especially when it came to the sad scenes about the characters death. Just absolutely unbelievable acting. It was also true in the extremely predictable pot brownie scene. And the extremely predictable lies to protect people scenes. Yeah, that is all this is.  Predictable garbage.

But what really put me over the hump to make this a 0 instead of a 1, was the bad audio in two music based scenes. There is a concert scene, and then later on during junior prom, a live singing scene. Both of them sounded so fake and clearly just audio being played it allowed for zero emersion. The club had no noise and chatter and rough sounds, and people talking or cheering or shouting. It was bizarre. And the ending fun scene went from regular talking to, oh, this singer is a superstar, different voice, music appears, background vocals, you name it.

I don’t think I am petty here. It was just already a bad movie. And just things like what I mentioned above, combined with the acting and assault stuff, in this year, just seems like a bad movie from the 90’s coming out 20 years too late. Shit, maybe that actually is a young Olivia Munn? Who knows.

0 out of 4.

Secret Magic Control Agency

When I first found out about Secret Magic Control Agency, I figured I was definitely not going to watch that movie. Its poster/images just screamed a straight to DVD, low effort, low budget, animated film. I loathe those types. They always make me so angry. They are extremely basic on story, and hide behind the fact that they are a kids film in order to say they don’t have to stand up to the quality expectations of an adult.

Fuck that noise. Kids deserve quality too. Should we only ever feed our kids hot dogs, and never let them try pork roasts, or steaks, or turkey? No. Kids can know good stuff exists too, even if it means coming to terms with the fact that a lot of basic stuff out there is, in fact, basic, and not worth their time.

So why did I watch it? Because it actually released on Netflix. A much bigger platform than expected, so I need to check it out quick to see if it is worth time before people get stuck wasting their own time potentially. Or you know. maybe it was great and I needed to spread the word.

kids
Corgis, by definition, are low effort as well. 

In this magical kingdom based on (checks notes), ugh, fairy tales, we have kings and queens and magic users and all of that. But because of shenanigans in the past, magic is now regulated by the Secret Magic Control Agency. I guess they are like the CIA force of this world. I don’t know what they actually do most of the time (make sure people doing magic have the appropriate bureaucratic paperwork? Capture people using magic like a villain?) but right now they have a very important job. The king was kidnapped!

Led astray by some mysterious food. Oh no. So the agency is going to get one of their top up and coming agents on it. Gretel (Courtney Shaw)! Why just one person? No, the powers that be think they need to get a thief as well to join her, someone who knows how to lie (something that the agency should be able to handle given their normal job functions…?) and they specifically search out Hansel (Nicholas Corda / Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld). Yes. Siblings.

But they are grown up, one is a charlatan, the other a law enforcer. And they want them to work together to get the king back before everyone realizes he is gone. So they have to put away their differences and you know, do that.

Also featuring the voice work of Erica Schroeder, Johanna Elmina Moise, Marc Thompson, Mike Pollock, and Tyler Bunch.

steal
Captured but unlimited dessert? There are worse places to be. 

Low. Effort. Films. That could be enough of my analysis and end, but I guess I will be specific.

This could have been a generic fantasy film about completely new entities. But they decided no, we NEED this to be Hansel and Gretel. Why? WHY? The fact that they are these characters doesn’t do really anything for this story. They make a bread crumb way back home reference. There is one line about the Grimm Brothers writing up their shenangians, but in charge of changing the details to make it sound like a story instead to…hide the truth? From who? Is this set in the past in this world? This has a lot of advanced stuff in here, and wouldn’t make sense to be set in our own world, let alone the past. That is a bad joke and they should feel bad.

The only thing they needed for the plot would be to have a brother and sister. Almost all of this is new material. Just because something is on the public domain, doesn’t mean it has to be used. No child is going to be picking movies and be iffy about this film, but see that it has H&G and go “Oh shit, hold on momma, this got my favorites in it lets get it!”. No one cares and it just makes an already lazy movie feel more lazy.

Honestly, if this was an original story that wasn’t relying on name recognition of aspects in order to tell a story, it would fall easily in the 1 out of 4 territory, because at least there was effort. But the lack of effort just pisses me off, especially when the makers would probably acknowledge that this film isn’t great themselves. They would just mark it off as a kids movie and say it works for that level, and that is unacceptable.

0 out of 4.

The Terrible Adventure

Along my travels as a movie reviewer, I have certainly seen some things. I have seen the best of movies, and I have seen the worst of movies. I have seen movies you haven’t heard about before, and those that destroyed the box office. I have seen movies in movie festivals that eventually saw the light of day, and those that stayed in the darkness forever.

I have seen many a good and bad movie. I have seen many a great and a terrible movie.

I have seen so much. I have seen a movie that filmed scenes inside of a house with the first battery alarm going off and no one thought to stop it, creating a disjointed mess, where one angle it was going off and the other it was not. I have seen a movie starring one person talking to others on the phone the entire time.

And yet despite everything, I was still not prepared for The Terrible Adventure.

kid
Nothing could prepare me for this child and the rest of the cast. 

Okay, here we go. Olivia Johnson (Olivia Thompson) and Jackson Johnson (Jackson Thompson) are two kids, in a nice part of Florida, being kids or whatever. Their dad, Brad (Brett Engle) is going through a divorce with their mom, Janet (Jillian Chiappone). And she is an outright horrible person for some reason, yelling, throwing stuff, whatever, Olivia finds it funny.

A billionaire (Ron Beau Phillips) who owns an ice cream company, Huncha Muncha, which appears to just be ice cream sandwiches and that is it. He is holding a contest in various parts of the world. On his ice cream bars is different questions, and if you know one of them, you will get to move on to the next round. This is a scavenger hunt with “harder and harder” questions, with a big money prize at the end. And I guess it is meant to be region based the scavenger hunt, so many of these going around the world. Whatever.

Because of their parents divorce and job problems, Olivia gets a bar and solves the first problem because she likes science. She gets her brother involved and they go on an adventure on their own to try and get more and more clues to solve this stuff.

Oh, and for some reason along the way, there is a corrupt ice cream truck man (Santo Curatolo) who hires a homeless guy (Ciro Dobric) who is also corrupt, and they just keep following our kids trying to take the clues and continue on for the big prize.

Also starring Kristina Maria Day as a spy.

ice cream
“I don’t like cream on my face…not a drop!” 

It was only a few minutes in, maybe ten, when I realized I was watching something that may end up being one of the worst films created of all time. I will describe the scene.

A sports car drives up into the driveway and lawn of our main characters house. A blonde woman gets out and starts yelling at the dad. Just insulting him over what feels like nothing. he then starts throwing the last of his “things” at him, including art, and microwaves, and he just stands there being disheveled. This stuff gets get broken and destroyed! She continues to berate him, before driving off. All of the while, the main character Olivia sits there on her bike behind her dad, just smirking and giving the most “Oh you” face known to existence. Like this is humorous, her parents divorce and yelling and stuff being broken. Then they drive off.

That is when I realized this was not an ordinary bad movie, this was a top of the line bad movie. This is a movie that didn’t give a fuck about telling a good story, or acting, or dialogue. This was going for comedy, in a sense that no one would find it funny.

I also noticed it sounded really weird during this scene. I realized quickly that this dialogue was recorded not live during the scene, but at some other point. I realized it first when I noticed that the mouths didn’t always match up with the dialogue. I noticed it more when I realized it had absolutely no outside sounds, just complete perfect vocal track and that is all. This audio issue persisted throughout the movie. It wasn’t just one redone scene. (I cannot confirm the whole movie had to redo the audio), but it was certainly a lot of it.

And it was certainly true for every scene with the ice cream men, who started to feel completely fake, with the voices that came out of the men. They might have actually done the audio, but because it matched so badly, it was like watching a dubbed film except there was no reason for it to be dubbed.

This film lacked any amount of humor outside of slapstick. It had a basic story, that was also hard to follow due to its own implausibility. The contest didn’t even make sense, nor did it apparently have anyone actually trying to solve it.

This film was made to showcase Florida and to talk about Global Warming, but no one will give a fuck about a message if your film is a piece of shit.

The director and writer, Kel Thompson, is the literal dad of the two kid stars. They even have their actual real name as their character names. They have no acting talent and it shows. They tried to go out of their way to make them smart, but the only way to do that was to put them near two characters who had a -3 intelligence. The kid actors weren’t even given an IMDB page like the rest of the cast. How can you have an IMDB page where your two main characters aren’t even listed in the credits apparently?

And when they got dirty and went home and went to bed, why did they never clean? Why did they not change clothes? Why did it stay that way?

We even have at one point a very white male character playing someone Hispanic, doing a pretty racist accent reminiscent of Speedy Gonzalez.

I could go on and on about how terrible this film is, but there is no point. Statistically, zero people will watch this movie who see this review, and you likely would have never seen it out either. I can’t for the life of me figure out at what stage the people involved realized this was shit. But I hope that it did happen at some point. I can’t imagine them living a life this distorted from reality to think any of this was worth their time or ours.

0 out of 4.

A Week Away

You know what is exactly one week away from today? Whatever day it is today again! Hooray never changing cyclical weeks of 7 days!

The only thing I knew about A Week Away going into it was that it was about a troubled teen and maybe a musical. A musical I never heard about? You certainly have my attention, random movie drop on Netflix. In fact, its musicalness is why I decided to not watch it on my phone but instead at a better place/time when I could give it my full attention.

With musicals I need to pay attention to the dances, the plot, the lyric choices, how they filmed various fun scenes, all of that. I can’t just give it a listen and a half watch.

It turns out, A Week Away is exactly worth an eighth of a watch.

fists
At least they are all fans of black power. 

Will (Kevin Quinn) is some troubled kid. He is in the foster system, both parents dead, and he is just completely rambunctious. We are talking something ridiculous like, 80 schools in 2 years. That is an exaggeration on my part, but whatever they said in the movie was larger than what should be likely as well. He is about to go back to juvenile detention because no one else will take him in. Oh noooo. “Please I can change despite my arrests and saying I can change before!”

So he gets a shot. A mother (Sherri Shepherd) and a similar aged boy, George (Jahbril Cook). They aren’t taking him in, but they are going to take him to a week long camp. Will thinks that is quite dumb, but its better than Juvie, so fine. And when he gets there, he sees all the happy teenage kids his age, also wearing no branded clothing, and they sing a song together and mention…God?

“Wait, this is a Jesus camp” both Will and the audience will say together at some point. Did I misshear a lyric? Did they say God was a glorious leader? That sounds like North Korea stuff. Anyways. Not only is this a church camp that Will got sucked into. This is also a religious film that you got sucked into, and you had no idea! Me neither! At least the second song hints at the theme and the third song makes it quite damn obvious.

Anyways. Will has to do camp things, which is great, because he likes a girl Avery (Bailee Madison), and he will lie about his past, to help his team win the camp stuff against the other teams, and also help other romances.

Also starring Iain Tucker, Kat Conner Sterling, and David Koechner. Wait, Koechner? Todd Packer from The Office? And all of those crude and crass roles? Why is he in a religious film? Is he part of the trickery to swindle people into watching it?

guitar
Is there anything more dangerous than a white boy with a guitar?

I feel duped, I really do. I was excited to watch a musical about who knows what, that came in under the radar and no prior hype from me. I was ready for it. Musicals are a rare commodity. But faith films are not that rare, and generally most of the time, they are pretty darn bad. I do actively avoid most of them it turns out for that reason. Every once in awhile you can get a big movie that is faith based and not terrible, but they are huge exceptions, for many reasons. 

A Week Away is not a bad movie because it is a faith film, however, it is just a regular bad movie. I am not sure if it is going for the High School Musical crowd, if so, they are like a decade too late. That is definitely how I can describe this one, with better camera work (like from HSM3). But it turns out half of this movie is a Jukebox musical, as they take already existing songs. Did I know any of these songs before hand? No. but I know how to research and I know how many of the songs felt very shoehorned in.

Darn it. To make a good musical, the songs need to give the characters growth. It needs to express things that words cannot do on their own. It cannot just be generic music, which a lot of the songs in this film end up feeling generic. Oh we want to do a remake of a song named Dive? That mentions rivers? Let’s just have the characters sing it on the beach of the lake, because water references. Boom. Musical song made.

Jukebox musicals are easy because hey, music is already written. Jukebox musicals are hard, because you need to take something already written and it has to adapt super hard to your work in a unique way so that it isn’t just a song being sung that kind of sort of deals with the topics. What would happen in RENT if instead of La Vie Boheme, they just sang some pop song about never giving up or whatever? It would have no emotion or feeling behind it. And that is true for most of the songs in this movie. They feel like they just want to do pop (slightly elevated Kidz Bop) religious songs that don’t help the story. 

The story itself is weak. I don’t know why it is a religious camp with so little religious stuff going on. It seems to be just an activity camp focused entirely on sports and games between three teams. And I guess that is church camp now? They go out of there way to even call a day Sunday, and no church happens that day. There is one scene around a bonfire that is Church-y, and who knows when that is supposed to take place. It can’t even commit to its theme.

I will say, the point system doesn’t make a lot of sense for the camp. The final talent show is crap. Having every single event center on our main people, in their boring sort of romances, including every game and activity is bizarre. Why did they have moment to even have sign up for events at the beginning if ever team already did every event? Come on now.

Heed my warning. Do not be fueled into the musical that is bad, but also a faith film that even tackles the subject of faith poorly. 

0 out of 4.

Slaxx

Ever since Rubber came out, we have all been thinking the same thing. When is the next “horror” film involving a normally non sentient object coming to life going to come out and blow us all away?

Rubber was weird. Rubber was ground breaking. Rubber had some existential questions that were never going to get answered, and it lead to a lot of confusion.

But what about Pants? People usually like pants, and people usually like rubbers (hehhh). Some people really hate pants. Can we have pants go on a killing spree and hurting people? That is what some Canadians asked themselves I guess, most likely really late one night, and that is now why Slaxx is in our lives and wants to party. But not at a pantsless party. They would hate that discrimination.

slurp
Is it absorbent? Can it soak up blood stains and not show?

Libby McClean (Romane Denis), who definitely has a name like that, is a bright eyed, bushy tailed young lady who is ready to make her mark on the world! How? Well, she just got a job at the ~~coolest~~ trendy fashion store ever. It is the best. Everyone likes it, and they have great sales and cutting designs and they do good for the world too. They really care about life and helping others and, well, fashion.

She gets to work on a very important night for them, because they are about to do a new product launch! This is something really special, a one size fits all pair of jeans. One that more perfectly forms to fit the wearer and learns their shape quickly. Its all in the fibers, or something.

And sure enough, once the door is locked, and someone wears the product early, they find themself quietly offed. And then the pants moves around to strike again.

There is a lot riding on this night for the store and its stakeholders. But maybe this is a pair of pants with a conscious? Maybe it is trying to right some wrong? Maybe this is about how the fashion industry is ruining the lives of people around the world? Who knows!

Also starring Erica Anderson, Hanneke Talbot, Stephen Bogaert, Brett Donahue, Sehar Bhojani, Kenny Wong, and Tianna Nori.

pants army
I’m gonna fight ’em all,
A nine pants army couldn’t hold me back. 

Well well well. I went into Staxx excited. I saw the poster and I knew that I wanted it. I knew that I needed it. I was ready.

And yet, here I am, extremely disappointed. It was a comedy horror, but the comedy elements were just forgotten about it. I guess it was light hearted a bit. Was that the comedy? Was it because of pants killing them it was just hoping that was hilarious enough? Was it supposed to be the level of extreme that some people felt about pants, or the influencer’s presence? Was it because the pants danced to Indian music? I don’t know, I just know I never laughed and thus the disappointment.

The message is fine. It raises some good points about the fashion industry and exploitation and how corporations try to seem woke but often lie about what they do in real life. Just hide and deflect and promise to change while changing to a different harder to detect bad method. You know.

But honestly the message really didn’t deliver by the end either. Not even the message of extreme commercialism and the need for something new. I thought the ending was pretty poor. Even the explanation for the pants was relatively poor, but it was better than I figured it would be going in. I literally thought it was supposed to be demonic, so that is a plus.

Slaxx didn’t deliver anything to me that it seemed to promise. It wasn’t funny or scary, it was just weird, but not in a good way. And with this conclusion, I can say, I still am not a fan of pants at all.

1 out of 4.

Yes Day

I don’t think there is a lot that has to be said about the movie Yes Day before going into the movie Yes Day. We know what it is about, and a lot of people can probably assume the hijinks involved.

So let’s talk about the director. Miguel Arteta. He has previous family film experience with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, where it also featured Jennifer Garner in the mom role, and a lot of shenanigans happening to a family during a day. Looking at other films, there are a lot of misses. Youth in Revolt, Cedar Rapids, last year’s Like a Boss (which was pretty bad, but didn’t make my worst of the year list, but almost did). Not a great track record, for a movie I am already sus about.

cars
Glitter and costumes are a plus for Yes Days.
You know who used to be cool? Allison (Jennifer Garner).  She used to go skydiving, travel the world, and say yes to lots of things. That is how she got married, by saying yes, to Carlos Torres (Edgar Ramirez). But now they are older, and they are parents. Allison has to say no a lot of the time, to make sure her kids are safe and don’t die. She hates that. Carlos has to say no at work at lot, as a lawyer and head person, and he hates that too. So he makes sure to be more fun at home and let his wife take all the heat.

And sure, now their kids (Jenna Ortega, Julian Lerner, Everly Carganilla) all hate their mom. Two of them submitted this information as school assignments and projects too, which is pretty fucked up. And because of a school counselor (Nat Faxon), Allison determined to be the cool person agrees for a Yes Day.

This is a day where the kids can’t be told, outside of some agreed upon ground rules. Like distances and costs. And they make an additional bet with the oldest daughter, that if the mom ever cracks, then the 14 year old daughter can go to a local music fest with friends and no parents. Yuck.

Oh what golly shenanigans will there be?

Also featuring Fortune Feimster and Arturo Castro.

armies
I believe three of these outfits already surpassed their proposed budgets.
The reason for the Yes Day is for the kids to feel like there is autonomy over their lives. A holiday for them for kids. And I immediately take some issues with that, because most holidays are already for kids. The pageantry of Easter and Christmas and Halloween and all of that is just kid fun frenzies. Even the more adult oriented holiday’s have kid appropriate activities to get them hooked young. So we are starting with a sort of gross representation on what kids can do for holidays.

Secondly, as mentioned in the second photo, holy shit, the rules are a lie. They tell us the budget constraints (and later on in the movie she gets rid of the rules yes), but the scene with the outfits takes place before anything was lifted. They gave a dumb excuse for how so many people were gathered for the event to. They could have just made it a real thing already going to happen with them joining in on that day, that would make sense. But to get hundred people, and outfits for all of them, and the family? Damn that is dumb. And the game didn’t seem to make much sense either? People could be eliminated if hit I think, but only if the ref saw and felt like calling it? I don’t get it.

Going to Magic Mountain was a bad twist too. Ain’t no body trying to go to a theme part in the afternoon, when the lines are the worst. Why would any child be happy with that? They know they’d get there and get on two rides and their day would be over. Why the hell is the mom freaking out about a regular rollercoaster when she used to skydive?

A lot of unplanned shenanigans also occurred at the end. We got dad trying to bail. We got theme park. We got jail. We got unaccompanied minors. The house party was fine. But I have never seen a kid every give a shit about some foam coming out of a tiny or large volcano. Ever. Anytime it is done in real life it is disappointing. But they love have little kids in movies and shows think it is the coolest thing ever.

The final concert scene was kind of cute. It took too long to be very effective I think, and apparently H.E.R. is a real artist?

More things that annoyed me. In the beginning of the movie, Carlos didn’t stand up for his wife at all. Holy shit, the video made about her was terrible, and he like reluctantly told the kids to apologize or say it wasn’t true. They didn’t, wife left sad, and he did jack shit. Damn man, time for some Hulk energy. Be the goddamn bad guy (no, his stint at the end of the movie did not give him any credit). Feel bad for Garner. She gave up 100% of herself for her kids and family, and even her husband walks all over her after 14 years of kids.

1 out of 4.

Boss Level

Alright, this is where I say things that are contradictory.
I am pretty certain, at this point, we need to calm the hell down with the “repeat a day forever” movie concept. Take an entire chill suppository.

Yeah, sure, Palm Springs came out last year and it made my top of the year list. But it tried something different, and we already got a similar movie to that one this year with The Map of Tiny Perfect Things.

And now we have Boss Level, which is supposed to be like a video game? You know, like how Edge of Tomorrow was sort of like a video game.

We definitely have too many in the genre coming too fast, which means we are about to get a slew of bad repeat day movies. Like what happened to the found footage concept. Then people will automatically hate them without giving some a shot, and some of them will rise to the top and be good.

All of this to say, I did like Boss Level, so uhhh. I guess I am happy it came out.

 

sword
I normally put regular words here, but I kind of want to put s-words instead.

 

Every morning when Roy Pulver (Frank Grillo) wakes up, it is because of an assassin standing over his bed with a sword, and a woman in his bed screaming. 

And after him, comes the helicopter. And after the helicopter, comes any number of other assassins. He has been doing this for over 100 days, he has no idea why people are going after him, he never really makes it that far in the day, and he is ready to give it all up. Unfortunately, giving it all up means just doing it again, a huge torturous shit hole.

What can he do to find the secret? What can he do to get stronger and survive? What can he do to find his ex (Naomi Watts) and see if her science shit is behind this whole thing?

Starring a lot of people, and more than I am tagging.  Rio Grillo, Rob Gronkowski, Ken Jeong, Meadow Williams, Michelle Yeoh, Selina Lo, Sheaun McKinney, Annabelle Wallis, Will Sasso, and unfortunately Mel Gibson

 

 

games
No, they don’t get to play the video game this one I guess pretends to be. 

 

The only way Boss Level works is through the charisma of the lead, Grillo. Without him, or an equally charismatic lead, this movie would be bargain bin trash.

Look. The plot is pretty low. It does explain the “why” this situation is occurring, for sure. But it doesn’t mean the explanation is that great. This is also a movie that wants classic Mel Gibson to be the big bad guy, but it feels like Gibson is barely in it. Is he the top of the bad guys? Sure. Do we need him in this movie? Not really, anyone could play that spot. And I’d definitely prefer someone who wasn’t anti-Semitic. 

Also, this film in no way feels like a video game at any point. The title implies it, the intro implies it, the screen they show when a new day implies it, but it never feels like a video game from the show of it. We don’t have…well, any video game aspects at all that one would expect. It feels a bit strange to imply it all while providing no actual video game elements in the story, and that is disappointing. 

But again. I still gave it a 3 out of 4 despite its many flaws because I had tons of fun. Grillo went full Grillo here. He was extreme, he was loud, crass, and somehow really deadly, until he died himself. I think a lot of the assassins could have been better given distinct personalities, but most are pretty basic. 

A fun movie. But hey. Stop doing these things. For a little bit. I don’t need to see trapped in a day films for some time. Let’s make it until the end of the year, okay? 

 

 

3 out of 4.

 

Tom & Jerry

And now for the movie everyone has been clamoring for…Tom & Jerry!

But you know, animated versions interacting with real people! Yeah! That is what we want for sure!

Okay, but for real. Space Jam was a hit. No way this has to mean an auto flop. I guess if there is a good reason behind it, it should be fine. What better way to fill your film with A-listers to help sell the product than by letting them interact with CGI technology?

fight
If the angst is fake, we must dispose of the cartoons.
Kayla (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a down on her luck, but smart woman, just needing a break and an income in New York City. She ends up conning her way into a sweet hotel gig, and honestly, she is probably qualified if she can convince enough people she is knowledgeable in my eyes.

But this luxurious hotel is hosting the biggest wedding of the year this weekend. Two really big social media influences (Colin Jost / Pallavi Sharda) and they are rich and it will be the tits. Can I use that term in a kids movie review?

Anyways, another hotel liaison, Terence (Michael Pena) doesn’t trust her at all, and thinks she is up to something. So he will watch out for her and hope she doesn’t ruin things. Oh also there is a cat named Tom and a mouse named Jerry I guess, they are involved in all of this for some reason.

Also starring Rob Delaney, Patsy Ferran, Jordan Bolger, Ken Jeong, Daniel Adegboyega, Nicky Jam, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, and Bobby Cannavale.

gasp
“I am shocked, shocked! To find you two causing problems.” – Chloe, probably
What is the normal plot of Tom & Jerry? Tom is a house cat, Jerry is a home invader who starts to live in their owners house and Tom is supposed to kill him for the owner I assume. Jerry is clearly not a pet. And mice can live a lot of places and aren’t entitled to human houses or anything like that. But I think the cartoons ignore a lot of that and just make the back and forth seem natural and fine.

So what about the movie? Well, we know that Jerry isn’t a rich mouse so can’t get a sexy apartment and eventually sneaks into a fancy hotel and is seen by guests and they want him out. That makes sense. This is a fine establishment with a no pets policy already. We also see Tom making money in the park as a piano playing cat. He also pretends to be blind for more sympathy tips maybe. Kind of bad. He should be able to rely on just his cat piano self, its already impressive. Then Jerry comes up and puts his own jar out as a dancing mouse and tips go to him.

Why are the tips going to Jerry? What’s more impressive, a dancing mouse or even a non-blind cat playing piano? One is just straight up reactions. So Tom gets notably angry at him for this, but Jerry keeps winning.

Alright, so like, I don’t know what they are doing to make us on Jerry’s side? Because the one constant is of course that Tom tries to get Jerry and Jerry wins and survives and Tom gets hurt. But in the cartoon Tom is just doing his job assigned to him? In this movie, Tom gets hired by the hotel to help get Jerry out of there before the wedding and guests find out about a mouse problem. Again, a job.

Sure, the animals in this world are all animated, but they also are animals. People eat meat. Jerry isn’t inherently a special mouse. He is someone who broke into a business as a trespasser and won’t leave. And everyone is fine with the fact that cats eat mice. There are zero problems here from Tom.

And yet, that is what we get repeatedly. The same shenanigans. Tom continually losing and getting hurt in terrible ways.

The fact that this is set in the real world makes things a bit worse. The wanton destruction of their surroundings, in the park, in NYC, in the hotel lobby. It is ridiculous as he humans just stand by and have continual WTF looks on their faces. My own kids laughed early on at some of the shenanigans, but once the real world implications continued to occur and compound, they didn’t. It is hard to laugh over seeing things get destroyed and violence even on the cartoon scale.

So we have a majority conflict where the bigger jerk continues to win (and obviously this is not a story where the bad guy eventually loses). We get violence after violence. And a plot that kind of includes them.

Sure, the movie eventually tries to give us a message of togetherness and harmony. But it doesn’t feel earned at all. And it all just feels like a mistake.

0 out of 4.

Coming 2 America

I know we have had an influx of “sequels a decade or two later” over the last few years, really starting with Dumb and Dumber To, but this one I think has to be the longest gap in the trend?

Coming to America graced our lives with humor and witticism in 1988, before a young Gorgon Reviewer could even be born. And now, 33 years later, its sequel is ready to go (although sure, it meant to come out last year).

Now this one is a much bigger sequel than the others because it had a much bigger original cast that was important to the story, and hell, everyone if they are alive that matters to the story is returning. So it has that going for it. I will say however I hate that they did call it Coming 2 America, because in real life it is impossible to say the difference without hand gestures or extra words, but in text life I guess it is fine.

Can they bring back the previous rains of Africa with this film? Will it matter in today’s world?

king
60% of the time it is good to be the king, all the time.
And we are back to Zamunda, where decades ago a young Prince Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy) returned with his bride (Shari Headley) from Queens, New York.  He has since fathered three girls, and his oldest, Meeka (KiKi Layne) is a wonderful and powerful woman, but the Zamunda laws require a male heir. Akeem is worried about that, given the imminent death of his father (James Earl Jones) and fully taking over the King hood.

The problem is, Nextdoria is now being run by a powerful and charismatic ruler, General Izzi (Wesley Snipes) who wants to marry his son into the royal line. But Akeem believes in true love! And if he says no, Izzi might kill him and take over!

Well, according to his good friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall), one night in Queens long ago, he tried to hook up Akeem with a bride right away! Akeem does not remember this situation due to drugs. Well, sure enough she (Leslie Jones) had a baby, who is an adult male (Jermaine Fowler) and might be the answer to his countries woes! Especially if he will agree to marry Izzi’s daughter.

Also starring basically everyone, including many from the original cast, if they were still alive: John Amos, Louie Anderson, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Clint Smith, Paul Bates, Nomzamo Mbatha, Bella Murphy, Akiley Love, Rotimi, Teyana Taylor, and Tracy Morgan.

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Nextdoria got mighty prosperous and powerful in a few decades.
Out of sequels a few decades later, I think Coming 2 America has to be considered the best to try it, because it really did deliver. Whether it is as funny as the original or will be seen as timeless as the original that is hard to say, but it is still clearly filled with the same heart and soul (glow) that made the first one work. It isn’t just references to the last movie (of which there is quite a few) or meta jokes about sequels (in which there is one). It is a continuation of a story and a reflection over the decades, asking our characters to better themselves and fulfill promises they claimed they would give us.

I laughed out loud several times, and I was watching it alone by myself, so that says a few things. My favorite new character was General Izzi. He came in and commanded the screen like a real life, slightly more aggressive Prince Ali. They brought the music in and the dances and it was a sight to behold. It is amusing that just two years ago we were noting how strange it was that Wesley Snipes and Eddie Murphy had never been in a movie together with Dolemite Is My Name, and we all realized that chemistry worked and needed to be expanded.

All of the classic character return and give us growth and familiarity. Big shout out also to Paul Bates as Oha with a surprising vocal range.

It is also full of musical guests to increase the nostalgia factor, each one surprised me and added to the extravagance. The last one had me in stitches though near the end, that is for certain.

Coming 2 America is funny and familiar and fits like an old glove (assuming you didn’t gain the Pandemic 50). I was doubtful it would work given all of the ones that failed before it, and damn was I wrong. The bar is now set very high for the next old late sequel, which I think is Sister Act 3. But the first two Sister Acts weren’t as good as Coming to America, so it might already be a losing battle.

3 out of 4.

I Care A Lot

I hope this movie is something seen by all. I hope it remains in the conversation for decades to come. I hope people refer back to it with quotes and references and we remember its name.

Why do I care so strongly about this film? Just because of the title. It is a bit awkward. I Care A Lot. Oh okay.

But the awkwardness is fine. Because it has the words “a lot” in it, and maybe, maybe, if people see this movie and write it out and get it in their brain, they will stop trying to create the “alot” creature from hyperbole and a half.

One of those pet peeves is all.

wall
“I’ve heard of ‘Binders of Women’ before, but this is ridiculous!” 

Getting old can be hard. Your brain can leave you behind, your memories can fade, you can become violent and really needy, but if you have no one to help you, what are you supposed to do? You kids, if you have them, might be able to take care of you. Or they may be too busy. You might get put in a home, but your kids may be too busy to handle your affairs, your doctors, and all of that.

So sometimes, you will get a court appointed guardian who will legally serve your best interests. These interests sometimes go against the interests of your family, but maybe that family might be trying to milk you dry and increase their inheritance? An unbiased third party is often useful.

Now if the unbiased third party is ALSO trying to scam you, then there is a problem.

Meet Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike). She is that person trying to scam you. She knows the doctors, the judges, and is often trying to get appointed to people she can legally milk dry while getting kickbacks and looking like they are caring for their appointees. And in this film, she lands a big whale. Someone with no family to bug her and a lot of wealth.

But it turns out that Jennifer Petersor (Dianne Wiest) is not who she appears to be. And she does have a son (Peter Dinklage), who just so happens to be a mob boss in hiding, who doesn’t appreciate what is happening to his mother.

Also starring Alicia Witt, Chris Messina, Eiza González, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Macon Blair, and Nicholas Logan.

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If a photo shows strong facial hair game, I must always comment on said facial hair. 
Rosamund Pike knows how to play a sinister lady character for sure. Have you seen Gone Girl? You should see Gone Girl. It is great. Her character isn’t as conniving and evil as Amy, but it is still a really evil character who has close to no morals in I Care A Lot. It is like the movie title is…a lie! So it is easy to see why she won a Golden Globe for her performance in this film. But I wouldn’t be lying if I didn’t mention I would have preferred Maria Bakalova. Oh well, as long as Music didn’t win anything, we are all winners.

I Care A Lot is a very intense film and one that won’t be for everyone. There are very strong shifts in terms of what kind of film it is, especially the larger second act. There is a chance you might love the beginning and hate the rest, and other similar situations. I was fine with all of them, and I prefer my films to keep me guessing, even on tone. It never rustles my jimmies.

I really enjoyed Pike in her role, and is the only one worth mentioning. Even Dinklage couldn’t match her, but he did have more limited screentime.

Honestly, this movie’s existence is a strange one for those who hate moral issues. We have bad person vs bad person. There isn’t a clear person to cheer for, even if they are the antagonist, they are still a shitty human being. I now assume that things like this movie depict happen in America on the regular, and well, I hope John Oliver does a special on it so I can get the facts and start caring more.

Because it is on Netflix, this one is pretty easy to recommend for at least offering us something new. Mob stories are played out, but this is clearly a fresh take.

3 out of 4.