Ice Age: Collision Course

After I saw the first Ice Age movie, I avoided the rest. It was okay, I just didn’t have any interest in future films.

But then I became a movie reviewer, and in 2012 Ice Age 4: Continental Drift came out, so I had to watch several movies in a short span and my brain became fried. Every film got less and less scientifically accurate.

After a few years I figured we were safe, but no, since Blue Sky Studios has practically no other films coming out, we were given Ice Age: Collision Course, involving outer space. Another frontier for science to be destroyed in.

So many god damn characters now.

Look at all the people I get to talk about. Our original Ice Age crew is still around. Manny (Ray Romano), the mammoth. Sid (John Leguizamo), the ground sloth. Diego (Denis Leary), the saber toothed tiger. And by this time most of them have lovers and extra friends. Manny has Ellie (Queen Latifah), and her two opossum brothers, Crash and Eddie (Seann William Scott, Josh Peck). Diego has Shira (Jennifer Lopez) and they are only briefly thinking about kids. Oh and Sid is all alone, technically.

But Manny and Ellie’s daughter, Peaches (Keke Palmer)? She has found a long term boyfriend as well now. Julian (Adam Devine), a mammoth who wants to marry Peaches and move her far away from the family. That sucks for the parents, but it would be great for the movie, because this cast of characters is already too large.

Scrat and his nut help cause a series of events that begins to hurtle a giant asteroid towards the Earth, putting a damper on their parties. The giant crew quickly runs into a weasel, Buck (Simon Pegg), who is some sort of extreme adventurer and smart entity, who has been living in an underground paradise. He believes the asteroid is being attracted to the Earth at a certain spot and that if they get there, they can stop it. But with him also comes a group of evil winged dinosaurs (Nick Offerman, Max Greenfield, Stephanie Beatriz), who also escaped extinction. They want the asteroid hit so that the mammals will die out and maybe they can rule again.

There you go! I think I got the basic plot in there.

Also featuring voice work from Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jessie J, Wanda Sykes, and Michael Strahan.

Ah, Simon Pegg, always the light in the darkness.

The pattern seems to continue. Check mate, science. Once again, every further Ice Age film in the franchise decides to take a big poop on science, despite starting off strong. I will say that some of the past discretions are more egregious, most notably being off on Pangaea splitting up by 155~ million years or so. This time, we are being threatened by a meteor, going to destroy the planet. One that is going to hit the same place that killed the dinosaurs, and a previous mass extinction event. The MAJOR plot point is literally just to bring up a real event, and repeat it to give it an old ancient past feel, I guess.

Not only that, but they then go on to imply that events in this film would be responsible for Mars becoming a desert, life less planet RIGHT AFTER saying it would have happened billions of years ago, completely vandalizing our poor time line.

One isn’t supposed to get bent out of shape when faced with inaccuracies in a forgettable animated film, but when the film series used to be accurate and is still trying to showcase science, it gets quite annoying. What hurts me even more so is that Neil deGrasse Tyson not only lends his voice to narrate a few aspects, but they even make a character that is a flash in the pan to look like him for a couple more lines. Damn it Tyson, this movie is not helping get people smarter.

Outside of the science issues, this cast is way too large. No one gets killed off, everyone stays alive, and no one is leaving. So it started too big and then it grew further into the movie. It is beyond manageable and no one can really shine or matter. Not even the original trio. Okay okay, the new guy Buck shines a fuck ton in this film, and they thankfully make him interesting, but it is certainly not enough to save the movie in any way.

And yet, this is not the worst animated film of the year. This isn’t even the worst animated film of the year to imply coldness. Ice Age is lucky Norm of the North exists to give us more context.

1 out of 4.

Danny Collins

Danny Collins is a movie that sort of just sneaked into theaters. It wasn’t heavily advertised, it didn’t have more than 1 screening, and I honestly had never heard of it.

I might have even watched it when it came out, if it didn’t come out against Insurgent. Come on. Teen high school dystopian dramas > everything, am I right?

My biggest concern for this movie is actually Al Pacino, once a great actor, now a guy in a lot of bad movies, like Jack and Jill and Stand Up Guys. He is becoming a bit of a box office turn off for me, just like Robert De Niro. For the most part, they seem to be just showing up to do their scenes and not putting any heart to it, getting their easy pay checks. That is the one thing I will mostly look for in this film. Can Pacino try harder?

This guy fucks.

Danny Collins (Pacino) used to be a big star. He was wildly famous in the 70s, with lyrics that compared to John Lennon and he was on top of the world. Now, 40 years later, he is still rich and famous and touring, but playing all of his old hits to old fans and kind of just going with the motions and never giving it his all. Huh, sounds a lot like something I talked about not to long ago.

Either way, his long time manager Frank (Christopher Plummer) let’s him know for his birthday that he found a 40 year old letter, written to him by John Lennon that never made it to him. A letter that basically would have changed his life and told him that money and fame aren’t everything. Well fuck, now he is old and feels useless. But there is still a chance. He should just leave his young cheating wife (Katarina Cas), check himself into a hotel and no longer worry about music but instead worry about his life.

So he is going to live in a Hilton hotel, to constantly hit on their manager (Annette Bening), and try to hook up the main receptionist (Melissa Benoist, who is in everything now) and the main valet (Josh Peck). But that isn’t his main goal, no of course not! He actually has a son, Tom (Bobby Cannavale, who is in everything now), whom he has a rocky relationship with. So he wants to fix that up real soon before someone dies and ruins it all. This means he also will have to befriend his wife (Jennifer Garner) and finally meet his granddaughter (Giselle Eisenberg).

Good. A man with a mission. A man who might go back to money fame drugs and playing for old people if he can’t fix his real life before it is too late. Also featuring Brian Smith as a booty call, and Nick Offerman, who has like, a minute of screen time only at the start, but looks cool enough to mention in this review.

At least the casting department got something right. Cannavale could totally be Pacino’s son.

There you go Al Pacino! If you play a part that in some way mirrors your own career for the last five years, you might put some effort into it!

From Pacino I saw passion and I saw an actor who cared about playing his character. Great! And his own enthusiasm made me enjoy the performance and overall, enjoy the movie.

I thought the relationship aspects between Collins and his family felt realistic and avoided tons of cliches. The most unfortunate part about the family was Jennifer Garner though, who had a character that didn’t do a whole lot in the film, so it felt odd for someone of her talent to be used in such a way. This happens a lot with the mom role in films, for whatever reason, but since they had her, one would guess her role would be more substantial.

I was also very impressed with Bening, playing a hotel manager or something. She was able to pull off the professional/dealing with a huge celebrity/not caring about said celebrity really well. And of course, Cannavale was great for many reasons as well.

Danny Collins, a movie that I was afraid would be a bad VH1 made for TV movie, ended up having quite a few strong characters and a unique enough plot to really enjoy. Based loosely off of a real story, but I don’t care about that story, so I didn’t feel like talking about it.

3 out of 4.

Battle of the Year 3D

There is a serious problem happening in America. Right now! All around us! Unfortunately, most of us have closed our eyes to this problem.

We are no longer the best country at breakdancing, or “b-boying” despite the fact that we invented it. Hip-hop is losing its appeal in America, and it is sad. Grr, I hate it when we don’t win everything!

Because of these true indisputable facts, the movie Battle of the Year 3D was created. Sure, their trailer had the wrong release date until a few weeks before coming out (listing January instead of September) and looked entirely like a parody, but the director hopes to bring light to this definitely real tournament through exciting dance sequences, flashing lights, and Chris Brown.

Basically, the exact same thing he did six years ago with his documentary Planet B-Boy. (Except that one didn’t feature the internet’s most hated man.)

Chris Brown
Step 1 to making a big movie? Cast this guy!

The movie starts off quite serious. A boardroom meeting lead by Dante Graham (Laz Alonso), a big hip-hop record executive who is worried about a decrease in sales. Why? Because no one in America cares about B-Boying anymore. Why? Because there is a big international tournament that we haven’t been able to win in 15 years (fact).

So he decides to bring in a coach this time to whip these young boys into shape. How about Jason Blake (Josh Holloway) who used to coach basketball successfully until he lost his family in an accident? Don’t worry, he isn’t some random scrub. He also used to B-Boy in the 80s with Dante.

Yeah. This will go well.

After hiring random office guy Franklyn (Josh Peck) as his assistant coach, he decides the only way to win is to get rid of the current team, and start from scratch. He wants to make a B-Boy Dream Team, the best dancers from the best crews across America. Then he will only have nine weeks to train them, make them a cohesive unit, and make very difficult cuts the entire time.

Of course during this time he has to go through almost every sports team problem in the history of sports movies. His two best dancers, Rooster (Chris Brown) and Do Knock (Jon ‘Do Knock’ Cruz) are at each others throat over a girl from years before. They have an openly gay dancer (Richard Maguire) and people who are pretty homophobic (Sawandi Wilson). They have players who sneak out at night consistently, last minute disqualifications, last minute injuries and a whole lot of ego that stands between them and the gold.

Let’s not forget the coach has a drinking problem! Crap, our hopes lie within a bunch of entitled young adults. At least they have a choreographer (Caity Lotz)? That will make a difference? Maybe?

How can sawyer teach theese keeds?
How do I reach these keeeeeds?

Battle of the Year 3D is an interesting movie, in that you know the director actually cares about the subject matter, given he made the documentary a few years back. He also uses a a real event and real details. Of course the idea of the dream team crew is completely fictional, so I almost think that it is his own personal idea for bringing the gold back home.

At the same time, I feel like he also is just trying to promote his own stuff. There are many scenes in this film of the characters watching his own documentary, which one refers to as “The Bible of our culture!” Whoa now, Benson Lee, calm yourself down.

I learned that Chris Brown is actually a great dancer. Sure, I knew he was in Stomp The Yard, but who actually watched that movie? The majority of the actors in this film are actual B-Boyers so you know the dancing you get will be quality. The problem with this film is that it tries too hard to be a generic sports film instead of a dance movie.

What do want and expect out of a dance movie? Lots of dancing, of course! Unfortunately, most of the film is spent in the training, so instead of great dancing, we just get working out and small dance moves. Most of the dancing doesn’t happen until the end, leaving us only with sport cliches, and that is unacceptable. Also, the actual format of the competition means that the coolest dancing we see happen well before the finale, in the preliminary round.

A dance movie without a lot of dancing? What a mistake.

The crowd at the Battle of the Year events must be pretty bored. I think there was five shots of them throughout the film just standing around doing the wave.

Wait. This is a hip-hop competition that takes place in France, with the audience constantly doing the wave? Damn, that country is literally living 20 years in the past.

1 out of 4.

Red Dawn

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Nothing I love more than patriotism, except maybe blind patriotism. So give me a war movie involving America, and I will probably love it. Red Dawn is of course a remake of the 1980s movie of the same name. The original film was not really a work that most people would describe as great, but maybe entertaining. In that film it was the end of the Cold War, and the USSR along with Cuba invaded the US. Clearly, the enemy has to be updated as well.

Let’s face it, the invading country is fucked when Thor is on our side.

In this distant future, the USA has become involved with more conflicts than they can handle. They have troops all over the world, and some would say that leaves their coast lines defenseless. But who would attack the US? Well, apparently North Korea would! That will teach us to over extend ourselves. Set in Spokane, Washington, Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth) has returned home for a visit while being an active duty marine. Jed left home after their mother died six years ago and hasn’t kept in touch. His father (Brett Cullen), a police chief, and brother Matt (Josh Peck), a high school quarterback are reluctant to have him back without a warning.

Then, you know, North Koreans start falling out of the sky in parachutes, and corralling up people in the streets! Hell no. Jed and his brother run away to their father’s cabin, picking up some other high school friends along the way (nerds, played by Josh Hutchenson and Connor Cruise, the latter being the mayor’s son!). Toni (Adrianne Palicki), a female friend is able to find them, but not Erica (Isabel Lucas), Matt’s girlfriend! She is captured! Oh no!

You know the rest of the story, the band of misfits begin to train in the woods and try to slowly take back their town. The Wolverines gain more recruits, more guns, and are quickly able to put a dent in their takeovers side, Captain Cho (Will Yun Lee) doesn’t like being messed with and is determined to fight back. They also find themselves joined by three marines (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kenneth Choi, Matt Gerard), looking to join up with the local guerrilla force to acquire the communication device of the enemy. That way, they can hear their transmissions and hopefully start taking out larger groups around the country.

You know. Or die trying.

The fate of the future of America may be in these men’s hands.

In the original Red Dawn, the threat of invasion probably felt a bit more real than it does today. However, I also felt that the previous movie was a bit campy in its actions, kind of making it a action/comedy by today’s standards. Just watch this famous scene again, and try not to laugh.

The remake does a much better job of creating a more serious film, even going so far as to kill off a lot of the characters you might expect to make it to the end. After all, it is a mini war and people die in wars. The audience has come to expect it now.

I think it is interesting how they ended it, leaving it open for potential sequels, and reminding us that there would be no easy fix to having another army invade our borders. But I can also see how it would piss people off. I think they did the right thing, giving us their training in a speech montage, instead of wasting more time before their counter attacks. I actually liked most of the action sequences too, which in turn made me feel pretty patriotic.

This film could have focused more on a lot of the pressing issues of our time, how different citizens react, and how one man can make all the difference, but really they instead went more for the fun action flick. Which is fine, I don’t mind action if its entertaining. Just remember the film seems to be focused more on entertainment, instead of a film focused on changing our attitudes towards war and society.

3 out of 4.