Tag: Jenny Slate

Landline

In 2014, Gillian Robespierre directed a small indie film called Obvious Child, starring Jenny Slate.

And it frankly was the best thing Slate has ever done. She is in a lot of kid movies weirdly enough, along with voice roles, so those rarely are anything noteworthy. And then on the other end of the spectrum, she can be in these raunchy/annoying roles that make you remember her, but usually in a negative way.

Obvious Child was a nice balance between outspoken and notable in a good way.

So I was excited to hear that the pair had teamed up for a new movie, Landline, not at all related, but hey the same director and same star.

Boys Room
And hardcore tobacco use in a bathroom. Is this what Mötley Crüe was talking about?

Dana (Slate) is an adult, working a job, and living with her fiance, Ben (Jay Duplass), who is a bit boring. And by that I mean their life is routine, their sex doesn’t lead to climax, and every time they try to spice things up it goes wrong. Her younger sister, Ali (Abby Quinn) is almost graduating from high school and thinking about colleges. She is super smart, but she is getting into dumb positions and working with drugs, putting a strain on her future.

But we are really here to talk about their parents. Alan (John Turturro) and Pat (Edie Falco), who are going through weird times. Turns out that Alan might be cheating on Pat, thanks to Ali finding a disk with some erotic poems to a mysterious C. Oh yeah, I mean floppy disk, because this takes place in the mid-90’s.

While that is going on, Dana separates from her fiance temporarily to find herself, which she does in the arms of a friend from long ago, Nate (Finn Wittrock). Oh boy, time for everyone to have panic attacks about their lives and question all of their relationships!

Also starring Raffaella Meloni as “C”.

Hibachi
The face you make when you realize your dad was actually cheating with the hibachi chef the whole time.

Landline is going to be remembered as one of those movies that really just fit the okay rating. It had some things happen, some notable moments, but the whole thing failed to stick with me in anyway. I don’t even have any large complaints. No one acted terribly and no character felt badly written. Everyone in the family was pretty realistic, as were their relationships and attitudes towards each other. It just didn’t resonate.

And hey, I didn’t even find Slate annoying in this film, that is a first!

I was most impressed with Turturro, he did a lot with his face and body, despite a more limited screen time than the two lead actresses.

Also the ending of the film felt wrapped up too nicely. It ruined a bit of that realistic feel and turned back into a movie, but one that didn’t match the way one would assume with the choices a few characters had made.

The good news is it wasn’t terrible, so I would be more than willing to watch another team up with Robespierre and Slate. Unlike the team up of Wahlberg and Berg.

2 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.

Despicable Me 3

Oh my damn. Here we go. A continuation of a bad franchise, hitting its trilogy mark after an equally bad spinoff. Does that sound familiar? This summer is Deja Vu-ing.

I will be honest when I went in with the lowest of expectations with Despicable Me 3. I mean, how could it get worse? It really couldn’t. It would just be more of the same, probably.

But it was announced over a year ago that Trey Parker, of BASEketball, Cannibal! The Musical, and yes, South Park fame would be voicing the villain. Parker! Crude humorist! Apparently it is something a lot of R rated people do, voice a kids movie so that their kids can finally see something that they have done.

At first I thought it was just another rando-celebrity signing instead of a nice voice actor. But then I remembered that Parker is a voice actor, he voices a shit ton of characters. So it won’t just be his regular talking voice, but an actual character! Hooray!

And that character ends up sounding up mostly like Randy Marsh.

80S
And if you look closely, it should look a bit like a Randy too.

For whatever reason, this franchise still exists with the title of Despicable Me, because as we all know, Gru (Steve Carell) is now a “good guy” taking care of his girls and his wife, Lucy (Kristen Wiig), who needs no taking care of. They are both members of the Anti-Villain League, and you know, trying to stop the bad guys.

After a failed encounter with Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), an 80’s kid TV star whose show was cancelled due to puberty, and now world villain playing his character as an adult and relying on 80’s themed reference weapons, Gru and Lucy are fired from the AVL! Boo new director (Jenny Slate).

Sad times, being fired and jobless. But he promises to not resort back to villainy, for his girls (Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel. Note: the last one is new, Agnes used to be Elsie Fisher but I guess she got too old). Also, hey look at the timing, he gets a notice that his long lost twin brother is looking for him. Apparently his parents got divorced when they were babies and they decided to break up the twins. The fuck, right?

Blah blah blah, his brother is Dru (Steve Carell), super rich and lives in a land that is like Denmark, or Northern Europe. It is time for Gru to learn about the family business…being a bad guy! His dad was a famous bad guy, and now Dru wants Gru to teach him how to be bad. Oh no.

Also featuring the voices of Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews, and Adrian Ciscato.

Bros
Don’t worry, Dru also speaks in a high pitched voice to help tell them apart.

Despicable Me 3 is basically as bad as I had imagined, but not worse. For those keeping track, I am saying that Despicable Me 3 is a better movie than Cars 3. It had issues, but not as many. It had some better moments, but not too many.

It is another franchise that decides to keep adding permanent characters to keep things interesting, instead of just making an interesting story with the characters we have. Last one we got Lucy, now we have a now twin brother Dru. However, having Gru’s father being a very famous villain/criminal who was super successful, is shit. They show photos of him in the new lair, and yes, he looks like Gru. So somehow Gru, master villain himself, has never heard of another bad guy who is older than him but looks almost identical? Unheard of. It is such a cheap cop out to introduce sudden new family members, and quite lazy.

Speaking of characters, there are too many and therefore not enough plot for all of them. Like poor Edith, I think that is the middle kid. She just exists in this film. She has a handful of lines, but doesn’t have her own story like the other two girls. Their stories Margo and Agnes, are incredibly minor though and just feel like filler because of too many characters.

The movie has the minions leave Gru, because they need to be bad things and need a villain, but he doesn’t want to. Hooray less minions right? Nope. Two of them stay behind so we get to have them with Gru still, and we get to see their minion adventures as they wander the town and prison.

I guess I don’t have a lot more else to say. With Despicable Me 3, you get a lot more of the same. The plot is weak, the sideplots are weak, some catchphrases to get people quoting the film, the animation is kind of shit (where the characters are all extremes, like too thin, too fat, etc), but that has been the norm. Just another bad animated film in the year with a lot of bad animated films.

1 out of 4.

Gifted

To be gifted in academia, it can mean a lot of things. It does NOT, however, have to mean you are immediately great at math or science. You can be gifted at drawing, music, analytical thinking, synesthesia, you name it. It is a common misconception that gifted students have to be good at common school subjects.

When I was in NC, it was called AG then AIG, Academically Intellectually Gifted, but apparently in Texas it is just GT, for Gifted and Talented. The same key word is there, and it is supposed to give you a harder program to really test your limits and get more out of your education. For the most part, it is really just slightly harder material and doesn’t do a lot of training.

Being a gifted student and now teaching gifted students, I was very interested with what the hell the movie Gifted would be about. Would it be accurate? Would it show the appropriate struggles? Would the main character wear glasses?

Girl
Oh thank goodness, no glasses.

Our story is about Mary Adler (Mckenna Grace). She is 7 years old and about to enter the first grade. She doesn’t want to go, though, because she has been living with her Uncle Frank (Chris Evans) most of her life and she has been home schooled. Not fancy tutors, just good old fashioned books and practice. Sure they live in a small trailer, in a poor area, with Frank working as a boat repairman, but they are happy.

But she doesn’t want to go into a regular school. It will be too slow for her! And when she does advanced multiplication in her head to her new teacher, Ms. Stevenson (Jenny Slate), they know something is up.

Turns out she is the daughter of Pat Golding (Julie Ann Emery), a very famous young mathematician, who was close to solving the Navier–Stokes equations. It is part of the Millennium Prize Problems (Not Yu-Gi-Oh related), a series of problems that will help revolutionize math if anyone ever can prove them. And Pat killed herself when Mary was 6 months old, leaving her in Frank’s house.

But it turns out that Franks family is kind of crazy. Notably, his mom (Lindsay Duncan), who attempts to gain custody of Mary once she finds out how gifted she is. Frank doesn’t want to put her in a fancy academy school for high level training, he wants her to grow up normal, with friends her age. And thus, a nice legal battle is actually the main focus of the film. Woo, lawyers!

And Octavia Spencer is in here too, of course, as wise next door neighbor and friend.

Teacher
Now picture the lady who starred in Obvious Child as an elementary school teacher. Yeah, I can’t either.

Gifted is okay, in almost every front. The acting, the story, the feels. I only cried once, which is surprising, given it being about a dad like figure with a young daughter. There was an incredibly cute scene where the girl was having a crisis, thinking that she was never wanted by anyone in her family and her mom, so Frank took her to a hospital to see baby announcements post births. To show happy families and to relate how it made them feel as well. It was touching and powerful.

But this film isn’t great at the same time.

We have handfuls of math problem montages, close ups of symbols and numbers that I guess most people won’t understand, close up of the girl’s face, and back and forth, with some nice chipper music. The worst was when she was doing an advanced math packet in her first grade class. Because that montage included Jenny Slate looking longingly at her while she sat at her desk.

And it still had some nice jokes though. Jokes about math teachers and beards. Jokes about how less civilized people will use the word irregardless. Those cracked me up, which made the movie a bit more bearable.

Gifted is a relatively simple film about an extraordinary, fictional character. Watching a first graded do differential equations isn’t exciting, because this is a movie and the actress could be doing anything. In real life, if this was a real story, it would be amazing. Oh well!

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.

Zootopia

2016 has a sizable collection of animated movies coming out this year. I’d list them, but that makes for a boring read.

A common theme I see is the classic “Animals doing human people things.” We technically had it with Kung Fu Panda 3, but it was at least set in the past. This year there are at least three major films with this theme in modern times. Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing. It seems excessive, so it probably is.

Needless to say, this made me worried for Zootopia. I had only seen the first teaser trailer, and a lot of posters. It looks un-original. It looked like last year’s The Good Dinosaur. Something they slapped together after a few years, but instead they are anticipating their other film to win awards. That one being Moana.

But then again, Walt Disney Studios hasn’t let me down since The Princess and the Frog. Clearly I should just shut up and watch the movie.

Sloth
Obligatory Non-Animated Sloth Related Clip.

Despite most of the advertisements I have seen, our main character is not the fox, but actually a bunny! A female bunny, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), with big dreams and aspirations. She wants to leave her farm and small village and become a cop! She wants to work in Zootopia, the main mammalian metropolis where so many life forms come together to live and work together to build something great. Of course there has never been a bunny cop before and her parents (Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake) will miss her a lot, but she wants to help other animals!

You see, in this world, humans never happened, all the mammals evolved to be human-esque and resist those primal urges to kill or be killed. Somehow still, despite the hundreds of years, stereotypes still exist for predators and animals. Go figure.

Well she makes it, but Chief Bogo (Idris Elba, an Ox) doesn’t care and makes her a meter maid. After getting herself into trouble and being extremely pushy, she is eventually able to join the big case. Quite a few animals, all predators have gone missing and no one has any leads on any of them. So Judy has only 48 hours to try and find Emmett Otterton, or she will resign from the job. Sucks.

To help her, she blackmails a fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) to help her follow up on some leads. And of course, they become a completely opposite duo that is able to miraculously solve the case and do what no one imagined they could do.

And of course this is a big cast. So let’s not ruin it by talking about who does what and just give the list of names: J.K. Simmons, Jenny Slate, Kristen Bell, Raymond S. Persi, Maurice LaMarche, Nate Torrence, Tommy Chong, Octavia Spencer, Shakira, and of course Alan Tudyk,

Jag
And this guy is our new Olaf/Baymax/Horse from Tangled.

Somewhere, a little cartoon mouse with ears as as big as his head is slowly lighting a cigar, laughing to himself. Walt Disney Animation studios has been in the game for eons at this point and they know what they are doing. Sometimes their advertising may be suspect, but their current main line of films since the CGI era has not had a bust yet, and it was apparently wrong for me to think otherwise.

Zootopia for the most part was a very well done and enjoyable film. Scenes were incredibly detailed, especially during a night time rain storm in the jungle. There was incredible detail put into the streets of the main city and from what it looks like, they may have gotten an accurate scale of all the animals big and small. That is a huge undertaking in a film, instead of everyone just being of similar height ranges to human, a rhino or ox or giraffe appear much larger than our normal bunny point of view. In fact, I first thought something was wrong and things were being exaggerated by the animators because the reality is quite jarring.

Better yet, Judy Hopps is an awesome character. She is inspiring, she is funny, she does more than what anyone expects of her. And hey, Nick Wilde ends up being a complete character as well. A great dynamic duo, both with their own dreams and goals and neither being a cheap stereotype (although, yes, a lot of characters are cheap stereotypes).

MM
Your mom’s a cheap stereotype.

And the movie is funny as well, it had jokes for everyone. Meta Disney jokes were there, especially when it came to Alan Tudyk’s character, movie/TV references (Breaking Bad!) and clever puns. I was almost dying during the Sloth scene, but apparently they turned 80% of that entire bit into a trailer. I’d suggest not watching that and letting it happen naturally during the movie.

It also happens to be about racism/prejudice or even a poor/rich sort of dynamic. It handles the topic with care and kids will be able to understand what is going on and the consequences of these sorts of actions.

Despite how much better it was than my imagination, it did still have some annoyances. The Gazelle played by Shakira, named Gazelle, felt incredibly cheap every time she was on screen or playing the new song just for this movie. More of a money grab than the Trolls from Frozen, but they were mostly just boring. The twists in the plot are relatively easy to catch far in advance. Not the minute small details, but figuring out who is behind the disappearing animals. A disappointing amount of time is spent pre-reveal, when an earlier reveal would have done wonders for building up the bad animal.

CGI movies take a long time to make and come out. But I don’t want to wait a long time to see more of these characters. They should turn this into a TV show, but not a cheaply done one. And fast. It easily works as a police procedural, and they’d have great content for years. Zootopia on its own is definitely recommended, and gives me a small amount of hope that maybe some of the other animated films this year won’t suck too much.

3 out of 4.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

I know I know, why would someone review Chipwrecked when it is in the middle awards caliber movie time? Why something from 2011 at the end of 2015?

Well, I like to review anything I watch that came out within the last 5~ years, that way my recreational viewing isn’t completely “wasted.” And I had to watch a bunch of these movies to prepare for Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, coming out soon! I can’t go into that movie without knowing what happened in the first three movies. I’d be missing out on hours of plot!

As a quick recap, I liked the first movie enough because of the Christmas and Witch Doctor songs. Classic, not just new pop music all chipmunky. It had a bad acting love interest though. The second film was bad, it felt like an episode of a TV show and very little happened. And Zachary Levi was downright terribad. Now we have Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, which I thought was…oh wait. Yeah. Review.

Alvinnnnn
Hmm. Yeah, review. Let’s get on that. This is what the people want.

The gang all here? Dave (Jason Lee) is actually in this movie and not awkwardly replaced by someone who looks like a younger Dave. That’s good. And they are going on a vacation cruise to then go to some vague foreign country for an International Music festival! Huzzah!

We have Theodore (Jesse McCartney), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler), Eleanor (Amy Poehler), Jeanette (Anna Faris), Brittany (Christina Applegate), and of course Alvin Alvin Alvin (Justin Long).

But guess what, they get annoying and bad things happen. Next thing you know, they are all stuck on a kite and headed out to sea! Oh no! Not Dave, he can’t be on a kite. But he does jump in after them to save him, getting himself into a pickle as well.

Next thing you know, they are on a deserted island. Not super deserted, because the chipmunks meet Zoe (Jenny Slate), who apparently is a female version of Cast Away and has been on the island for 8-9 years. She is very clean and has a sweet hut.

Eventually a volcano will happen and some other bad things. Simon gets bit by a poisonous spider, which changes his personality to the outgoing Simone (Alan Tudyk), who yes, apparently needs a new actor to speak for him.

Also David Cross is in this one, again, because they need more boring plot lines I guess.

Sexy
Not to be confused with their sexually confusing plot lines.

The third Alvin and the Chipmunks movie ends up being everything I expected. Which was very little and and bad plot.

But hey, at least some of the songs were good. They packed a bunch in the first half, because they were too busy to sing when “scary” things were occurring. The songs are the only real redemable part.

The villain was lazy and dumb, especially when they already had a volcano. Bringing back Cross was a complete waste, although he ended up having the best lines. I am stoked he isn’t in the next film.

Technically this film seems like it is more about Simon and Jeanette, which is a good change from the Alvin/Brittany show. This makes me hope that the spotlight shifts towards Theodore/Eleanor in the next film, which would make its existence at least a little bit worthwhile.

Hopefully they make it more entertaining than just some catchy song choices and an actual good plot.

1 out of 4.

Obvious Child

I knew something was up when I went to my screening of Obvious Child. Two things were of note.

One, I was invited to a free screening of a film, that technically was already released in theaters the week before. Most of the time free screenings are before they are out, to build hype and stuff, but this could just be an indie movie thing.

Two, the tickets I had were sponsored and given out by a Pro-Choice group. Huh. That is an oddly specific group to sponsor a show time. I guess…this movie…is about abortion?

That isn’t an issue or something. But it is basically all I knew about the movie going into it. Like Citizen Ruth.

Stand Up
Obviously.

This movie is about a few months in the life of Donna Stern (Jenny Slate). She is a stand up comic, works at a hipster book shop in NYC, and isn’t doing too much with her life. Just telling jokes about how it is. Well, her boyfriend doesn’t like this path and doesn’t like to be talked about in front of strangers. So he breaks up with her. And then she finds out her book store that she works at is closing.

So she does what anyone would do, get really drunk and avoid her problems. If by avoid her problems, I mean talk about it on a stage, of course. Either way. She sexes up a guy, Max (Jake Lacy) who is very nice, and apparently the rubber wasn’t used. She gets pregnant, has a few panic attacks to add to her problems, and wants an abortion. The abortion isn’t even the scary part. It is the telling of her mom (Polly Draper) and getting the money together when she is already losing her jobs. At least she has friends (Gaby Hoffman, Gabe Liedman) for support.

But why does that fucker Max have to be such a nice guy?

Richard Kind is in here as her dad and David Cross as an old friend.

Box
I think this scene is a metaphor for birth. But I think that about all boxes.

The main selling point for Obvious Child is its realness, and it really excels at that point. Really.

Everything in this story feels like something that could actually happen. That is where it gets all of is charm and humor from. The humor is pretty funny, both in a “ha ha funny” way, and a “I am uncomfortable by their awkwardness” kind of way.

And really, there isn’t much more to say about it? The film is funny and incredibly awkward. It is about abortion, but doesn’t make it a big life changing event, just turns it into something that has to happen. And hey, it involves that guy who joined The Office for its final season, so that was cool too.

3 out of 4.

The Lorax

I say a lot I try to make sure that movies based on books are given their own subjective look, without bringing the book into it. After all, they are different mediums. I need to judge the movie just on its movieness.

But The Lorax? That shit is classic. Here is an audio version for the lazy who have never heard of it. I think a movie version is definitely doable, but it will be weirder, and probably pretty short. Depending on what they set it in.

And just hopefully not extremely up in your ass on the environmental issues. That’s all I want. Lots of rhyming, damn it. Also, lots of Lorax!

Loraxes not
Well, these things arent the Lorax. Poor start so far.

The movie begins with Ted (Zac Efron) a very non Lorax human having big dreams in Thneedville, a completely “artificial city”. Everything is metal, plastic, or synthetic in some way. No trees or plants, that is all fake too. But no worries, they love their lifestyle and capitalism. They even love the fact that they by air, from O’Hare (Rob Riggle) for whatever reason.

But Ted is in love. With a girl! A strange girl who dreams of the world outside the walled city that they cannot leave. Audrey (Taylor Swift) wants a real life tree so badly, she even said she’d marry a boy if he gave her one. Simple needs! Despite the wishes of his mom (Jenny Slate) and grandma (Betty White), he escapes the city walls and goes to the barren landscape! And obviously, as I just described it, it kind of sucks. No trees anywhere.

There is a creepy house though, hopefully that is where the Onceler (Ed Helms) lived, a rumor of a man who is said to have tree seeds in his possession. And does he? Who knows, because he wants to talk to Ted first and tell him his tale, about how he met the Lorax (Danny DeVito) when he first came to the fields to start up a business and become a success.

Then you know, we get a really long version of the Lorax story, with lots of singing and dancing, and animation explosions, and lengthening. After the seed is received, where the book normally ends, the movie then continues to explain what he does with the seed and his attempts at taking down the O’Hare foundation in Thneedville.

loraxes
Aw, there is the Lorax. Super caauyuute.

Interestingly enough, the first scene actually got me hooked into the movie. The first song titled after the city was actually catchy and interesting, minus the weird parts about extreme capitalism and being a zombie. But yeah! I was excited. But then it went more and more downhill.

After that I didn’t really like a single song, which is a shame. Especially the last one, Let It Grow, that stuff got weird. But after Ted meets the Onceler (who yes, you get to see in the flashbacks. Just hands would be weird in a movie), the story of him going out into the fields, finding the lorax, and then eventually destroying the ecosystem takes WAY TOO LONG. It is ridiculously long. And pointless. Especially since the destruction part doesn’t take a long time, just the part after 1 tree to get to oh man cut it all down.

The morals associated with the Lorax novel are basically simple. Hey, don’t over do it. That is about it. The movie kind of takes that message, amplifies it to show even further extremes (Thneedville) and smacks you over the face with it again and again. I didn’t like that, it was far stronger than it should have been. The ending, after the return to the city with the seed, was just a long chase scene that felt pretty annoying too. I didn’t hate the O’Hare character, minus the fact that he didn’t make much sense, but the way they chose to portray him (not his portrayal?) was annoying to me. Just his general look. I thought “Oh jeez, thanks storyboard artists. Couldn’t have made him more normal sized? Fuck your proportions”.

There were some good moments, but man, I do think this would have been better at 40 minutes max and less acid trips.

1 out of 4.