Smurfs: The Lost Village


The Smurfs and The Smurfs 2 were met with a lot of mixed results, especially on this site. But you know what? A lot of things really worked.

Like Hank Azaria as Gargamel. He was great as the voice and character himself and felt perfect. I also enjoyed Neil Patrick Harris as our human contact.

But the sequel bombed because it was a poor movie. However they blamed it on the real actors for whatever reason and promised that the next Smurfs movie would stay in Smurfs land. No real people, just CGI for everyone. And now we have Smurfs: The Lost Village as a sort of reboot on the franchise where people won’t realize that things are different.

Adventures
Hundreds of smurfs, and we will only focus on a handful of course.

In this movie we are reminded again that Smurfette (Demi Lovato) was created by Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) to find the smurfs and be evil, but Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin) did some of that smurf magic to make her blonde, and thus, nicer. However, Smurfette feels weird because she doesn’t know what her smurf talent is. After all, all the men smurfs have an adjective to describe their talent, but her talent is just being a girl I guess.

After some fun time, Smurfette, Brainy Smurf (Danny Pudi), Hefty Smurf (Joe Manganiello), and Clumsy Smurf (Jack McBrayer) find some other smurf like thing who runs into the forbidden forest, blocked by a huge wall. And through some plot, Gargamel finds out that in that forest is a hidden smurf village that no one knew about before. If he can’t get the close smurfs, he might as well get the ones that don’t even know he exist!

So now these smurfs go out on an adventure, alone, to try and race to the lost village to warn the smurfs about Gargamel before it is too late.

Also featuring Ariel Winter, Dee Bradley Baker, Ellie Kemper, Frank Welker, Julia Roberts, Meghan Trainer, and Michelle Rordriguez.

Girls
Blonde just has to stand out I guess. Blue all the way down otherwise.

Why is it really that whenever we get a smurfs movie, they can only handle an actual handful amount only, and never like 10 or more? Oh we get one off jokes for a few of the smurfs. Vanity and Nosy got a few jokes I guess, but everyone else was one scene and done for the most part. Such a goddamn waste when there are like a hundred of them. Such lazy writers. Clumsy being there is just for comic relief, at least Hefty and Brainy have a purpose.

Wilson does a terrible Gargamel. If Azoria was never Gargamel in the past, I don’t know if I would be saying that, but at least comparison, it is so much worse. It just feels like some dude talking, not an evil grouchy balding wizard. He has lost his snarl in this movie and never feels threatening.

The story itself is just so generic. The adventure has bullshit perils, generic bad plantlife and lacks any amount of creativity.

But the worst part is that the ending is complete crap. For whatever reason, Smurfette is suddenly immune to a spell from Gargamel because she really isn’t a smurf. However, that same spell worked on rats and Gargamel, who also aren’t smurfs, so I am not sure why that it is relevant. And apparently what that really means is that Gargamel can’t cast spells on her at all. And that is how the plot gets finished, because she saves everyone by tricking him. And it serves absolutely no logic at all.

There are few okay moments and decent jokes, but it is a huge shit show. And it is not because of any human people this time. Also, Demi Lovato as Smurfette is a poor man’s Katy Perry. It is true and you know it.

1 out of 4.

The LEGO Batman Movie

If you are new here, I have rallied against animated films so far this year. We just had a summer with Cars 3 and Despicable Me 3, both incredibly bad to super bad films. And these are our tent pole films for the year more or less!

There is very little hope of animated films saving it by the end of the year, but I openly acknowledge that I had not yet seen The LEGO Batman Movie. I know a lot of people enjoyed it, our first LEGO movie since The LEGO Movie.

But I am one of the people who only gave The LEGO Movie a 3 out of 4, it was no where close to being my favorite animated movie of the year, but it was quality and hilarious, I give you that. Despite that, I was never looking forward to this movie. I was disappointed to hear it as a sequel.

I want some new original LEGO content, not relying specifically (mostly?) on pop culture content from a single established franchise. I also acknowledge that the previous LEGO film was FULL of pop culture content, but it wasn’t entirely. This just feels…well, unoriginal.

Robin
Now that brightly colored chap, he seems like a great way to take any brooding franchise.

Ah yes, Gotham, city of villains and crime and 1 super rich dude and some vigilantism. Batman (Will Arnett) is the best and everyone loves him! But he lives a life alone, mostly hanging out in his house, sometimes interacting with Alfred (Ralph Fiennes). But you know, just being a lone with all his money, cool gadgets, and lobsters.

He is still really good at fighting crime though, and even when the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) gets a shit ton of villains to work together to blow up the city, Batman still stops them. Even worse, Batman refuses to acknowledge the Joker as his greatest villain, his foil, his reason for Batmanning. So now the Joker feels bad. Batman just shuts the door on everyone!

However, with a new commissioner in Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), they are going to focus less on Batman and more on actually catching these bad guys who still terrorize the streets. And you know, maybe focus on getting them fixed instead of just imprisoned. And shit, it starts to work, so Batman has even less to do and no one to hang out with in his increased downtime. Except for Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), whom he accidentally adopted.

Of course eventually some stuff happens and things get really bad, but Batman has to learn to work with others if he is going to defeat this new threat!

Featuring an incredible slew of famous people doing extremely minor voices, because YOLO. Seriously, most of these people have like, 1-2 lines, or grunts, or one scene.Again most, there are like two people thrown in here who have slightly more lines. Totally pointless for the most part still, so, whatever. We got Adam DeVine, Billy Dee Williams, Channing Tatum, Conan O’Brien, Doug Benson, Eddie Izzard, Ellie Kemper, Hector Elizondo, Jason Mantzoukas, Jemaine Clement, Jenny Slate, Jonah Hill, Kate Micucci, Mariah Carey, Riki Lindhome, Seth Green, and Zoe Kravitz.

Joker
And just think, that wall of text is just the famous people you know who did voices.

Right away in the film, we get introduced to the Joker and his plans to take over Gotham once and for all, with a giant team of villains on his side, which are all presumably real Batman villains. Action, fighting extreme. I was shocked it happened so early, but since this film mostly deals with Batman’s loneliness, we needed to just get him doing Batman stuff, so we could see him existing waiting to do more Batman stuff.

And that part was just…okay. It didn’t connect with me on an emotional level or anything, because this is a film focused on comedy, so it went for quick jokes instead. And to contrast the opening, the ending is long and even more action packed. Even more villains, many more than you’d expect in a Batman movie, and explosions, and action and…

Being overwhelmed. That is what this movie felt like. It went to the extremes early on, then it went to the extremes in the end. In the middle, it is mostly lowkey, plot stuff. My body didn’t enjoy the “rollercoaster”. It failed to find a middle ground, and frankly, basically all of the action felt so excessive that it was not enjoyable from my point of view.

The best parts of the film were just Batman interacting with Robin and Barbara, regular dialogue for regular jokes. But the majority of the plot was off, along with my earlier complaint. It was an okay film when it comes to entertainment, but not one I am rushing off to buy and talk about over and over, like The LEGO Movie.

And now, also this year, we have The LEGO Ninjago Movie? This is based on their own IP, so hopefully they stick to their own stories to give a good film and don’t rely so heavily on other franchises pop culture references.

2 out of 4.

The Secret Life Of Pets

The Secret Life of Pets is just one of those animated movies coming out this year that I gave absolutely, positively, no fucks about. There are animated movies all the time and all of them are competing to be the best.

I wasn’t apathetic because it wasn’t Disney or Pixar. I like a lot of other studios, I am not some weird populist. No, I am apathetic because it is being made by Illumination Entertainment. Before this film, they have made 5 movies and they are all objectively bad. Despicable Me, its sequel and Minions were bad, The Lorax was bad, and Hop was racist and bad.

I only saw the original trailer for The Secret Life Of Pets a few months ago. Outside of the awkward title, it just didn’t look like it would be an original movie. Oh, talking pets? That hasn’t been done before. (Cough)

Viper
Now a 25 minute scene on venom drugs in a kids movie? That is new.

The movie takes place in NYC, big place, lot of people, lot of animals. And pets can talk and understand each other. Not just pets, all animals. They have some universal language despite not having the same noises.

Max (Louis C.K.) is a loyal house pet, taken as a puppy from a box for free by his owner, Katie (Ellie Kemper). He is greatful for her and waits almost all day in front of the door when she leaves. He has a ton of friends in the apartment complex and across the way who like to hang out while the owners are away. There is Chloe (Lake Bell), a fat cat, Mel (Bobby Moynihan), a pug, Buddy (Hannibal Buress), a dachshund, and a bird Sweet Pea who I guess doesn’t talk, just chirps.

But then Katie comes home with a surprise. She comes home with Duke (Eric Stonestreet). He is big, he is wild, and he is taking over the alpha dog status from Max. So Max wants to get rid of him. He wants to destroy the place so Katie will take him back to the pound. They begin to fight with each other more and more, and sure, yeah, somehow it ends up with them both now out of the apartment, collars lost, just trying to get back home.

And they are in New York City. Everyone knows it is a rough and tumble place for strays. You all saw Oliver & Company. On the streets they have to deal with animal control, the League of Flushed Pets (run by a bunny voiced by Kevin Hart), and shit like water.

Also featuring Jenny Slate as the puffy Gidget who lived across the street and was in love with Max, Albert Brooks as Tiberius, a hawk, and Steve Coogan, Dana Carvey, Tara Strong, and Michael Beattie.

New Dog
Duke could straight up eat Max. And Katie. And me.

Like I had feared, The Secret Life of Pets doesn’t offer a whole lot to the animation genre. The animation isn’t state of the art, with the quality looking more or less the same as the first Despicable Me film. This time there are only four or five important human characters, so their awkward proportional bodies isn’t super distracting like it is for other films. We just get slightly exaggerated pet bodies, which is a bit easier to accept.

About half of the film reminded me of Toy Story, the first one, the one that came out 21 years ago! New pet (toy), they argue and fight, both pets (toys) get lost from home and face near death to get back. Hell, there are a couple of scenes where they even have to chase a car where one or the other is trapped.

Nothing was surprising about this movie. It is incredibly simplistic and places where they could have added conflict and a bit of emotional connection are just nothing. Duke had an older owner and they attempt to find them during their time in the city. Without spoilers, things don’t go the right way. Perfect time for a nice emotional scene, but it is rushed through and another bullshit conflict is added. Bullshit conflict to move the plot is lazy, and this film is full of it.

One more complaint paragraph before some pros, don’t worry. The ending was a complete mess too. From the quickest phone call animal control response ever, to the unnecessary all out brawl between pets, to a no real stakes rescue, to the third or fourth time of the animals driving crazily vehicles, it just ended on so many bad notes. And yes, a brawl to solve a big issue is shit. Grown Ups 2 did it, and this movie did it just for a quick joke. Especially when an easy explanation could have fixed everything and taught some better morals.

Cat Face
Unrelated fun fact: An Andrew WK song appears in this movie. Party, party, party!

“But why with all these issues did you give it an average rating?” Well, surprisingly the voice acting saved the shit out of this movie. Kevin Hart as a bunny? I didn’t know I needed that in my life. His voice works great in animated films and his antics get less annoying when he isn’t the lead. Jenny Slate has been annoying to me in her last few films, but her as the Gidget was also pretty great. Albert Brooks as a hawk is the final amazing aspect of the voice acting. All three brought their A-game and brought it on hard.

The animation wasn’t completely average in every area either. The scenes with the snake, both seen above and as a sort of password felt really cool. They worked the 3D really well to make these animals pop out in unique ways. And shit, there was a dream sequence about sausage featuring the finale song from Grease, and it was a visual explosion of wonder.

The Secret Life of Pets won’t win awards for story, visuals, or make a lot of money. But the cast do the best with what they are given and technically make the best film Illumination Entertainment has ever made (in my eyes).

I still don’t want a sequel, because the entire idea behind all of this is just so uninspired. It feels like a straight to DVD animated film, just with some top tier celebrities to voice the animals.

2 out of 4.

They Came Together

Heh. Heheheheh. They Came Together. That title. Oh man. Oh boy.

I’m done. I can’t even think of a good intro because of that.

However, I would feel like an asshat if I didn’t first mention that this movie had already been reviewed on my website. Yah! Here is a link! Because I totally have guest reviews on my website, not a lot, but they are there. And from them, of the seven, one I had reviewed already, one I reviewed soon after, and this one I reviewed way way later.

I think I am just stalling.

Leaves
Like how I am avoiding cleaning up my leaves in my yard.

This movie is your classic romcom. And that is how they sell it. It is literally a spoof movie on romcoms, and they basically say that in the opening scene.

It is your classic boy meets girl. Joel (Paul Rudd) is a big corporate man working for a candy shop. Molly (Amy Poehler) is a klutz and owner of an independent candy shop. Oh my goodness, conflict!

Joel has a long term girlfriend (Cobie Smulders) who doesn’t love him like he does. Molly has an ex-husband and a kid.

Joel has a best friend (Jason Mantzoukas) who introduces him to a girl from work. Molly also has a best friend (Melanie Lynskey) who also wants to do that same thing!

Joel has a group of best friends who help him decide relationship advice. Molly has a black coworker friend (Teyonah Parris) who helps her keep it real.

Joel also has to deal with his younger brother (Max Greenfield) who is busy following his dreams and not making a living. Molly has other options, like a banker (Ed Helms) who wants to get closer to her.

I think you get the gist. It has a lot more people in it too! Like Christopher Meloni, Bill Hader, Ellie Kemper, Michael Ian Black, Kenan Thompson, Jack McBrayer, and Ken Marino.

Bear Suits
I don’t have a joke here. I just like the picture a lot. 🙁

I felt ridiculous writing this, because in all honesty, it was a ridiculous movie. I actually put off watching it for so long, because I thought I wouldn’t like it, or it would be as average as a romantic realistic indie movie. And hey, it was weird and unique! So that was good.

It is hard to find a nice spoof movie nowadays. And I think They Came Together gave one of the better attempts at it. I did laugh at quite a few of the absurdities, and found it pretty funny. But, by the end, I thought aspects of it were going too strong and the joke was losing its luster. A bit. You know? Maybe too much of a good thing. Hell, I even had a good time explaining some of the jokes to others, but I didn’t think this is a movie I could really watch again and enjoy it as much of the first time. I think it will quickly stale out.

This is all conjecture. I might love it forever. But if anything, these reviews are first impressions and my impressions can often change through time. I usually don’t like changing a review later, because who would notice and ehhh, apathy. This time I am pretty sure that I would only enjoy this movie once though. And that is why it is just an okay film in that regard. Without staying power, I don’t want to buy it. If I don’t want to buy it, then is it really that great?

2 out of 4.

Sex Tape

Sex and comedy go together like cheese and my mouth. Sure, not everyone will agree with the statement, but those who do tend to laugh more at life.

Sex Tape is thus, a comedy movie about sex. Staring some people who have been in funny things in the past, and about a subject America loves to pretend to hate, it should be successful. I mean, it is about sex and actually rated R?

Well. I guess it being funny also has to happen too. I guess.

Sex Skate
This isn’t how the scene actually looks. The white shirt is way more see through in the film.
Not a joke. Just a factual observation.

Annie (Cameron Diaz) and Jay (Jason Segel) used to have a lot of sex. When they first had sex, they both loved it so much, they did it constantly, everywhere, in every position. But then. Then they got married. Then they had two kids. Then Jay saw a baby come out of Annie’s vagina. Then the kids made them busy and tired, and Jay’s job kept him late at night and well. Sex went away.

But Annie, a successful blogger about to sell her website for mommies everywhere, wants to ignite the sex back. After a night of failed attempts, they decide to make a sex tape showcasing all the different moves in a sex book, and film it. Well, it works, they have sex, feel the love, and fall asleep. The next day, the iPad syncs with all of his other devices, as he has set it to do. But Jay has a lot of devices, looking for a radio station, and he gave them to many friends and family members to enjoy his shared content music lists. And you see where this is going.

So Jay and Annie spend a night trying to clear it from everyone’s device, and along the way get blackmailed, get into many fights, do cocaine, get terroized by dogs, and owe people lots of money.

Also, starring Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper, Rob Lowe, Nat Faxon, and Nancy Lenehan.

Kids
Kids destroy sex, not from making adults tired, but seeing the crowning.

I have to admit something. First of all, the theater wasn’t too full. There were like, eight other people, and they all sat on the right side of the theater. So I sat by myself on the left side, glad no one would disrupt me with their phones or talking. Now, sometimes a movie is so boring and dull and I get tired. Sometimes a scene might make me fall asleep for a minute or 30 seconds, and I might fight that feeling for awhile. But this time? When they were destroying computer equipment servers as seen in the trailer? That is the last thing I remember seeing.

I woke up with the theater light on, and a cleaning lady making noise so that I’d wake up. The theater was empty. I don’t know if anyone even noticed, because they all would have used the other exit and I was alone. But man. Embarassing. This is the first time a movie has been so dull and unfunny that I fell asleep for a long period of time. I mean. The entire credits. At least 10-15 minutes of movie (I’d hope). I have never walked out of a movie for being bad, but I guess this is about the same result.

Thankfully, I don’t see that as a fail. I quickly had the ending told to me by people who saw it, realized I missed not a thing, and went on with my life. In fact, my falling asleep is more telling. See, I was just going to give this a 1 out of 5 for being not funny. But with a reaction like that, in the middle of the day, after a nice night of sleep? No excuse. No excuse at all.

Yawn. Some cameos had some funny moments, but most of the jokes fell extremely flat. The entire situation was ridiculous, and they even noted in the film how easy it would have been to fix most of their problems after they found out about them. Bigger yawn. Move on. Worse summer comedy by far.

0 out of 4.

21 Jump Street

21 Jump Street (the movie) is nothing like 21 Jump Street (the TV show). Have I seen the show? No. But I know “about it” enough so that I get it. That was more of a crime drama thing, not really a comedy. The movie is a straight up comedy, with tons of references to the show.

You can like both the show and the movie, because it is clearly not a “Remake” but its own thing, taking the basic premise of the show. You know, in case you were curious. But I should also note that when I first heard about it my reaction was a resounding “What The Fuck!?”

Knuckleheads
But are these two knuckleheads at all believable in these roles or as cops?

Movie begins in 2005, when Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum‘s characters were in school. Hill, nerdy and shy. Tatum, athlete and dumb. 7 years later, some how, they are both wanting to be cops. They remember each other, and agree to work together (helping study / train) and become great friends and partners!

And after a bad first arrest while being park patrol on bikes, they get re-sentenced to an undercover gig on Jump Street, because they are “young looking” to infiltrate a high school and try and stop this new drug from being spread. Could be lethal, but they know nothing about it! So they have to infiltrate the dealers, find the suppliers. So says Ice Cube, their sergeant.

They meet the “cool kids” Brie Larson and Dave Franco, and accidentally switch their identities. ROLE ROLE REVERSAL. They find the dealers, and work on befriending them in order to find the supplier, and you know. Hopefully save the day without getting fired or expelled.

This also features Rob Riggle as a PE teacher, Ellie Kemper as an AP Chemistry teacher, Jake M. Johnson as the principal, and Nick Offerman as their former boss. (This was my paragraph of “People you probably recognize from a TV show”).

Greg the soccer player
Yes, that is the younger brother of James Franco. And it would have bugged you the whole movie noting how similar they looked. He is formally known as “Greg the soccer player” in Superbad.

But outside of all of it, was it funny? Yeah, shit was funny.

It was a self aware comedy too, making obvious jabs at the idea of recreating an 80s drama show into a modern comedy movie. Very easy to catch jokes too. Not everything has to be very subtle.

The made up drug is great, and the moment when the characters were forced to use it? Some of the most funniest consecutive minutes of my life.

Ever joke I don’t think hit the mark, but a large percentage of them did. The action scenes they threw in got to be quite heavy (and slightly predictable) and at one point they actually made a claim that goes against the teachings of South Park, a very hard pill to swallow.

3 out of 4.

Bridesmaids

Why hello there, highly anticipated movie that over the summer all of my friends hyped up as heeeelarious? Well overall I did enjoy it. Not as much of a laugh riot I had hoped or came to expect. But that is what hype does to you.

It was longer than I figured, both just in terms of length of film, and length of story. I figured it would involve just the pre-planning for the wedding, then the wedding, then the after wedding party where everyone gets crunk.

Chunk Goonies
Not to be confused with getting Chunk from The Goonies.

BUT IT IS MORE THAN THAT. This is prengagement to wedding story. This is the whole package from just friends to having Kristen Wiig be your maid of honor. This of course leads to bridesmaids jealousy, where Kristen has to compete with hotty ms. perfect over her the brides affections, played by the weird Maya Rudolph. Through shenanigans and not being perfect, conflict arises between them. Not cat fights, just more like hissy fights. AND CONFLICT. I already said that.

The other Bridesmaids are the shy girl (Ellie Kemper), the MILF (Wendi McLendon-Covey), the rich new best friend who is trying to take over maid of honor duties (Rose Byrne) and the bigger soon to be relative friend who lacks social graces and yet is funny (Melissa McCarthy).

I like that Jon Hamm had a role in this movie, but wasn’t even in the credits. I call sexism on that. How dare they find the bootycall role unimportant. (Cough). Speaking of Booty Call, the other love interest role is played by Chris O’Dowd, who I did find heeeeelarious.

awkward police cop
He plays awkward police cop from Cananananada.

My favorite scenes were probably the scenes in which it seemed it went on way too long. Such as engagement party speeches, plane shenanigans, and what not. you know, awkward hilarity.

3 out of 4