Tag: Edward James Olmos

Coco

Walt Disney Animation Studios have been on a kick lately, where they want simplistic, yet bold film titles, often in one word. Tangled. Frozen. Moana. Zootopia. Gigantic, which apparently isn’t going to happen anymore.

Disney isn’t officially doing Coco, Pixar is (Which is owned by Disney), who, outside of the franchise that should not be named, has mostly shied away from these sort of titles. Is Coco a sign of things to come for Pixar in the title department? It is hard to say, given the fact that its previous two movies, and next two movies are all sequels. Ugh.

I will note I experienced almost no hype for Coco. And that is because of its immediately similarity to The Book of Life. They aren’t even doppelganger films, because the other one came out years earlier, so it is just a bit odd to see such similar topics in animated films so close to each other. But the good news is, The Book of Life was only okay, I forgot basically all of it by now so it really didn’t mess with my opinion.

Strum
Guitars, afterlife, Mexico, love, sadness, revenge. Very similar films indeed.

Mama Imelda (Alanna Ubach) has a sad story, but a strong one. She had a daughter, Coco (Ana Ofelia Murguía), with her husband, who had more loves in the world than just his family. He left them, to become a singer and a star, and never returned. Poor Imelda had to raise Coco on her own, while also bringing home the bacon. She learned to make shoes and started her own shoe empire, going down her line of children.

Now, many years later, Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) is a 12 year old boy, and he loves music. He wants to play the guitar and sing, but there is a ban on music in his family, given the past incident. His Abuela (Renee Victor) is the main matriarch now, since his great-grandmother, Coco, is in a chair and doesn’t speak much.

Miguel idolizes Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), who is basically the Mexican Elvis in this film, extremely famous and well loved. But he has to keep his obsession secret. Well, due to some shenanigans involving a dead man’s guitar, Miguel finds him in the underworld! And on this, Dia de los Muertos, when the dead are trying to get back to the real world, not the other way around.

Miguel is going on an adventure, on the run from disapproving and dead realities, while he searches for his great great grandfathers approval, so that he can return to the real world AND play music officially. And he has bumbling Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) to help him, who just wants someone to post his photo in the real world so he can cross over to the real world just one time before no one remembers him.

Also featuring the voices of many others, including Edward James Olmos, Jaime Camil, Alfonso Arau, Herbert Siguenza, Lombardo Boyar, and Sofía Espinosa.

Familia
Well, Miguel doesn’t LOOK like his ancestors.

It is interesting that this film came out in Thanksgiving weekend and not like, the week before Dia de los Muertos like the film takes place on. Usually films go into effort to come out near specific holidays, but Pixar needed that Thanksgiving break money. It was released in Mexico before the day at least, so it has been out for almost a month somewhere else in the world.

On an emotional level, Coco hits on most of the cylinders. It should be a relatively easy feat, given the subject of DEATH and loss being its main focus. Relatives dying? Wives, kids, parents, whatever the level, it will get people choked up. It had a diverse soundtrack of authentic sounds, and despite Remember Me getting the most screen time (and one cry), my favorite song was Proud Corazón by the end, which tied up everything with a nice bow, as these films tend to do.

Miguel’s relationship with his various family members feels real on the level that a 12 year old boy might feel, including the parts where no one lets him talk. But adults refusing to listen to children in films end up usually being a pet peeve, as they just create lazy plot situations where communication does not occur and leads to all of the conflict.

Coco is a beautiful film, physically and emotionally, but it just seems to falter on the smaller elements. Ideas I couldn’t get out of my mind. Timing these events on Dia de los Muertos seemed to have hurt it instead of helping it. On this day, the dead want to go to the real world to party, hang out, get trinkets. And yet the city of the dead is so fucking full of people. We see a very small shanty area of folks who can’t cross because they don’t have pictures. But all of the biggest underworld celebrities are just still there? All the citizens are having their own parties in the place they are stuck so many days of the year?

It seems like a minor nitpick, and maybe it is, but it really distracted me most of the film. There were issues with the spirit animals, in that apparently one is so much more powerful than the others that it can just murder in the underworld and be basically okay. We have the fear of falling to death ruined by a last minute save, that would have still killed the person falling based on how they did it.

And we had SO MANY times when slow decisions were being made just toe extend the film. At least three times we had moments where the viewer would assume that everyone is fine now, time to fix things, and then wham, nope. Whether it be from last second pointless arguments, lack of communication, or just forgetting how to move.

The plot felt very lazy, so much that the film became more tearjerky than anything.

I love the culture of the film, I love the authentic voice actors, and how some of the songs were actually all in Spanish. Having this much of a multicultural element in a Pixar film is a welcome change (since most of their culture is inanimate/dead things with feelings). It just relied to heavily on that component and not enough on a decent plot.

And to bring us back to the beginning, Coco is not a good title for this film.

2 out of 4.

2 Guns

With The Smurfs 2 and 2 Guns releasing on the same day, I thought I would be clever and do a joint review called “Smurf 2 Guns.” Get it? Hilarious! Too bad Entertainment Weekly beat me to the scoop. Sigh. I will beat those guys one of these days, I swear.

Because of that, instead, we get a regular movie review! Hooray! I will jump right on in.

Running Away
With two stars at their finest, we hope.
Bobby Trench (Denzel Washington) and Michael Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) are about to rob a bank.

Let’s back up. These individuals are working for Mexican Cartel Kingpin, Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos). They just traded him 500 Passports in exchange for $100,000 in Cocaine, but he gave them cash instead. Lame. Now in order to take him down, they will have to rob a bank with his safety deposit box. In that box, there will be $3 million or so in cash that they can use for tax evasion charges, or something. Wait what, take him down?

Let’s back it up again. Bobby is secretly DEA, working undercover to bring Papi Greco in to authorities. He has been working on this case for three years, but his boss is about to pull the plug, and the only one who trusts him is his on again / off again secret lover Deb (Paula Patton), another supervisor.

Stig secretly works for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Yes, trust me, that’s a thing. You may be aware of its acronym, NCIS. Why is the Navy doing any sort of investigation into a Mexican Drug Lord, and in Texas? Don’t ask me. Don’t ask Stig either. He is just listening to orders from his superior, Quince (James Marsden).

However, after they rob the bank, they find more than $3 million waiting for them. In fact, there is over $40 million in the small town bank. Damn. Something isn’t right. When they try to reveal their actual identities right after, nothing goes right, and they are left on their own to find out just what the heck is going on. Things take an even bigger turn for the worse when the mysterious Earl (Bill Paxton) shows up in town, questioning just about everyone as to where HIS money ended up.

Upside Down Guys
2 guns. 2 guys. 2 ropes. If you get what I am sayin’.
2 Guns is billed mostly as an action comedy, a genre made very apparent from the trailer. A lot of nice one liners and wise cracks. Good show. While the action element is certainly there, the comedy element is incredibly light and sporadic in the actual movie. Wahlberg’s character makes a few jokes early on, but they quickly seem to disappear once all the betrayal starts. Heck, I found Paxton’s character to be the most humorous, but that was only because he was mysterious and a cowboy.

Speaking of characters, the secondary cast members weren’t used very well. Paxton (as I just described) was at least a bit interesting. The fact that James Marsden is in this movie almost feels like an oversight, with no real reasons for a big star to be in that roll. They also reduced the CIA to mere money hungry meanieheads, without any real explanation at all. In fact, the NCIS, DEA, and entire US government is seen as corrupt and inept, for no real reason at all.

In terms of plot, it is all over the place. They tried (very little) to explain why Stig was even investigating Papi in the first place, but it didn’t make any sense. The actual scene itself was quick too, just in case you wanted to understand the plot.

So half of the movie I am confused, trying to figure out how any of it makes sense. When they did finally explain why it didn’t make any sense, their actual reasons feel unacceptable.

Not a spoiler, but someone was pulling the strings secretly behind all of it, and set them up to rob a larger amount of money than they expected. Surprise surprise. But given how long these men have been working their posts, there is really no way anyone could have orchestrated any of the events that would lead them to rob a bank, without other people finding out.

The factual details are also out of whack. I could only shake my head during the “break into the navy base” scene. It felt comical, in the bad way, how little they cared about accuracy with it.

I initially thought I would forget about 2 Guns in a few months. Now I might forget about it within 2 weeks.

1 out of 4.

The Green Hornet

Ah-ha! When there is no movies to watch during a weekend (cause of screw ups) I have to resort to back up plans. Unfortunately, there is only enough movies in my backup plan to last this weekend, so instead of depleting that, I am going for back up back up plan. Movies I kept avoiding for no reason. And with that, The Green Hornet!

Hornet
Which I think would have been sexier as a CGI movie myself.

Seth Rogen is a spoiled playboy. His dad runs a large newspaper complex, so he never really has to work. He always wanted to do right by people, but got in trouble as a child. So he felt like his dad never cared! But then his dad dies. OH SHIT. He is in charge now of his shares? And in movies, if you control 51% of the shares or more, you can do what you want. He gets all mad and fires everyone in his house.

But finds out his coffee sucks, so he rehires the coffee guy, who also is good with cars, Kato (Jay Chou). Kato is also good at every other damn thing in the world. In case you didn’t know the Green Hornet is all Kato being a bad ass, and Green Hornet being not as cool as Kato, which the movie tries to show.

Blah blah, eventually they try to fight crime, and succeed, but are scene as criminals. Because he now runs the paper, he can have them publish stories on them and sell his image! Even if Edward James Olsmos says it is a bad idea, the oldest editor there. Also there is Cameron Diaz as criminologist secretary. David Harbour and Christoph Waltz are also in the movie, not necessarily as “bad guys” but big dicks.

Criminal Kingpin
Yep, just huge criminal kingpin dicks.

So this movie has everything you’d expect. Small humorous quips, badass car, Kato being a badass, eventually Green Hornet and Kato fighting and no longer being friends, Green Hornet wanting to tap Cameron Diaz, betrayal, the death of a hero, and everything. Seriously. Everything is pretty much expected.

It wasn’t the funniest movie, nor did it have the best action. Hell, even the plot was just okay. I think the reason I put off watching it is because of the drama that went into finally making it. Pretty much a decade of problems, with a lot of possibilities of much cooler movies based on the actors previously put into the project. But we got Seth Rogen, so I can’t help but be disappointed.

Overall, the movie was decent on its own, but kind of felt like it brought nothing new to the “hero genre”. Afterall, Hong Kong Phooey already brought us the “bad ass sidekick” concept in TV/Film before Green Hornet (which yes, existed way before Hong Kong Phooey. But still. That was radio and then comics). But was it bad? Not really. Just okay.

2 out of 4.