Tag: Kathryn Hahn

Movie Roundup – Animated 2018

Welcome to a Movie Roundup! A movie roundup features a few films that I didn’t feel like making full reviews for, but needed to get basic reviews out there for completionist reasons. It also helps me deal with my backlog. It may have a theme, and today’s theme is Animated 2018! Basically, all of the animated movies of 2018 that didn’t get their own review.

Being on a movie round up doesn’t mean a movie is inherently bad, or good, or meh. I can feature any rating on here! So don’t assume the worst! I will also just post the reviews in alphabetical order.


Animated 2018

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

First up is the only third film in a franchise in the group, but there are a few unnecessary sequels as well. And in terms of unnecessary things, this is near the top. This film doesn’t relaly have any redeeming qualities. It is very clear right from the get go what a twist would be, so instead of milking it, they give it away early as well.

The real twist is tricking you to give money for this terrible, terrible movie. The ending features a several minute long dance battle, from various artists, and then an even longer Macarena dance party. Yes, that Macarena. Were they paid to have it featured so prominently, has it been too long outside of our pop culture sphere? It seriously had to milk this scene so hard, as each main character needed to be shown doing the dance, and then group shots, and then tons of tourists, and every person everywhere, with extreme body movements to highlight their awkward appearances. It was one of the worst endings of a movie this year, so well done Hotel Transylvania 3. Please stop now.

0 out of 4.

Group

If only Van Helsing was successful hundreds of years ago, none of this would be here today.

Incredibles 2

Next up is a sequel people have actually been wanting forever, and Brad Bird said only when he had a worthy script, and apparently that meant 14 years later. Real time, not the movie time, as it takes place right after the first movie. And I honestly thought he should have waited longer. This film just feels so uninspired by me. I really didn’t need to see moments after they finished the first film, leaving me at the same exact point except we have a baby with changing every power nonsense. I could have used years later, more developed.

This plot feels too similar to the first. Still people are afraid of supers, but instead of the man going out to fight, its now the lady. The plot twist was once again obvious, so it didn’t do much for me. In 2004, Superhero movies were shit, so The Incredibles stood out as a beacon of hope for things to come. Now Superhero films have been able to elevate their game, bring a whole lot more exciting things, and this film more or less stayed the same. My mind checked out by the end, and it felt like too little too late.

2 out of 4.

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Babies are hard to care for. Hialrious!

Ralph Breaks The Internet

This sequel is a lot sooner after the first film, to maximize off of its success. However, this felt like a rushed piece of movie that relied on current style jokes only to work, which is going to doom it in the long run. This movie is by Disney, who wanted to flex their expansive collection and throw in all of the princesses and more in an internet hub world to make people giddy, almost as counter to Ready Player One , another nostalgia heavy film. Except this one combines nostolgia with extremely current, so we get memes, we get current popular websites, and it is going to do what many modern comedies do: fade into obscurity in a few years.

It is still nice to look at, and the ending is totally weird, but honestly, they made Ralph into such a shit in this movie. In the first film, he was tired of being a bad guy, who tried to do the right thing, but from his good intentions some bad still happened. In this film, he becomes selfish and straight up almost gaslighting Penelope into staying, and going out of his way to be a dick, whcih causes the problems. He felt like an extreme nice guy. “I did all of this for you, and now you want to leave!? Love me!” These are not the traits to be highlighting in our animated heroes, even if he learns his lesson. He still needed to not be such a dick.

2 out of 4.

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Ha ha ha ha screaming goats ha ha manipulation ha ha ha free will.

Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero

This movie is an awkward one, as it had a small release, not a big studio, and looked like absolute shit. Letting us know it is based on a true dog from World War I doesn’t make this feel any less uncomfortable the whole time. In highlighting what a dog did, with most likely extreme examples that might not have happened, we downplay the hell out of actual soldiers in the war who died. I don’t know if anyone is still alive from that war, but I know they would definitely not like this movie iteration.

It was a terrible war, and not saying we can’t make kid versions about the war. But it didn’t do a good job of really informing the details of the war, so it isn’t really educational. Instead, it is a super pup movie, who has a soldier friend, who saves everybody. It is so soft and basic it just feels like a waste of time. Cool, at least one dog in a war was given the title of sergeant. Please don’t trivialize the war at the same time.

1 out of 4.

group

Yo dawg, just no.

Sherlock Gnomes

For those of you who did not see Gnomeo and Juliet (which I will assume is everybody), it was lawn gnomes, but the Romeo and Juliet story line. And for whatever reason, they got Elton John on board with it, and a lot of his hits were either background, or the tune of his songs with different lyrics. It was uncomfortable. So yeah, let’s do a sequel. But a different story. Completely unrelated, except also being British in nature.

Now, if you are like me, you assumed okay, new story, new hero and will just be gnomes. But no, they think we really like the pair from the previous movie and it is still really about them, with also a mystery and extra characters. And despite the first being a big movie about their romance and getting together, this one is also about how Gnomeo is a shitbag who won’t let his woman do her own things, so he has to be insecure and they should not be a couple. More bad things for kids, really. Also, what the fuck is this Shelock plot line. I haven’t seen Homes & Watson yet, but this has got to be the worst year for that poor detective in hundreds of years. Straight up I will let you know, at some point, Watson is found to be part of the bad guy plot as well, because they want something new. Get out of here.

Oh yeah, and still, Elton John music.

0 out of 4.

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Here are four characters no one ever has, or will, care about.

Smallfoot

This is one of those movies I had completely dismissed before watching it. It looked like an Illumination movie, and they are generally godawful always. But it isn’t that! It is Warner Bros, who is known for Lego Movies and Storks (and that’s it right now). Knowing Storks, I wasn’t excited either. But strangely enough, Smallfoot had a lot going on for it. It had pretty good lead acting and some fun characters. It dealt with a serious topic about dealing with religious doctrination, from many angles. It didn’t say blindly follow, or screw all of it and get rid of it. There were layers to the plot.

I didn’t know it had songs in it either, so when they started I was a bit turned off, but for the most part they are really great. Even when one had to take the riff from Under Pressure, it completely ran with the premise and made it into something wonderful. Shit, the music was dope. I laughed. Now the ending did have a lot of problems, it got clunky and a bit off. But for the most part, Smallfoot is a solid film and better than most of the animated films this year. I’m looking at you, Disney and Pixar.

3 out of 4.

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Who really has the small feet in this situation, WB, Disney, or Pixar?

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies

And finally, we have a movie that came in a summer and I actually heard a lot of good things about. I heard it was hilarious. I heard I didn’t need to watch the show to like. I watched the first Teen Titans a few times, and it seemed quality. The Go version looked like, and maybe even smelled like trash. And it turns out, their movie seems to go with my preconceptions of the show.

Let’s make this clear. I didn’t laugh once. It had a few fart and potty jokes in it. It had a group of five people but it could not at all let them all be the stars, despite it being a team film. Clearly, a movie about Robin wanting a movie about himself will be more about him. Fine. But the other four are barely used. Cyborg is used a lot more, then Beast Boy, and our girls are rarely mentioned or get a line it seems. It is also a surprise musical, with some tunes being nice.

But what makes this movie insufferable is its over reliance on meta humor and current meme standards. We get it. Its a movie about making a super hero movies. We got superheroes in it, and they are hilarious. It just went all these terrible directions and never felt like something I would ever want to watch. It is like an idea someone made on an internet message board, and for whatever reason, a studio executive was drunk and actually listened to it. Yeah, a movie about making movies. But fart humor. And not showcasing all of the members of the team. And repeated jokes. Yes. God awful.

0 out of 4.

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God awful.

Overall, I am not surprised that three of these films got the lowest rating. I am surprised at how much I disliked Teen Titans though, could never imagine that poor of a film. I figured Sgt. Stubb would have been worse. I am surprised at the mediocrity from our big studios and how good Smallfoot ended up being.

Some of these films will make the worst of the year list, none will make the best. If you wanted quality animated films from this year, from America, check out Isle of Dogs and Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

“At least the DC animated films are great!” says some internet people when it comes to the great movie comic wars.

And sure, that might have been true. I haven’t seen like any of them. Except The Killing Joke, which apparently was an exception to that rule.

But why not some Marvel animated films finally? Not Marvel Studios, but at least one of their superheroes. Sony has had a lot of terrible ideas lately on what to do with this franchise they own, and they figure, screw it, why not just throw a bunch of Spider-people in a movie and hope it works. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. People not familiar with Spider-man will probably think it is a joke.

A joke eh? Let’s get those joke people to do the movie, they do solid work. You know, The LEGO Movie guys, yeah! Well, at least Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are producers, and that might lead to a solid product.

Basically, this might be the first good move Sony has made besides teaming up with the MCU to get some of that ad money.

Woods
An idea that is maybe crazy enough to work. Like two spiderpeople.

The movie begins with an intro by our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man (Chris Pine), who goes over his past decade plus of success. He has a wife, has saved the day countless times, and apparently, he is the same one from the Sam Raimi films. Fun!

But this movie is only a little about him. Really, it is about Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a young man who is still in school, with a lot of emotions. He lives in the hood, but goes to a nice school. His dad is a cop, but he wants to be a graffiti artist. His uncle is really cool and helps him, but might have some law problems as well. And he is just extremely emotional and nervous, despite being a smart kid.

Needless to say, he likes Spider-Man too. Everyone does. And Miles gets bit by a different fucked up spider. Not the same one, a different one. One that grants similar, yet different abilities.

And thanks to some villains, they are making a big dimensional portal vortex thing, because they want to mess up the multi-verse. Or change the past. Either way, this brings in a lot of confusion, unwanted death, and some more power/responsibility things.

Featuring other various Spider-men from different dimensions, like SpiderGwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), and Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson)!

Also the voices of Zoë Kravitz, Luna Lauren Velez, Lily Tomlin, Liev Schrieber, Lake Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Mahershala Ali, and Brian Tyree Henry.

Gwen
Two is not enough. We need diversity. Ladies. Cartoons. Animals. Time travel. All of it, damn it.

Hands down, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is one of the better superhero films of the last decade. I didn’t say animated films, I said Super-Hero. That is compared to all of the Marvel movies, to all the Fox, the DC, the other Sony ones. At least decade.

I am not saying it is better than The Dark Knights or the early X-Men films, but it is also better than most of the super hero ones in the 2000s.

Now, sure, that is a bold claim for animated films this year. I don’t know if I like it more than Isle of Dogs, but probably, I’d have to watch it again.

Why is this film great? It is just such a game changer and tries so much. It has emotion (I cried), wall to wall comedy, and fantastic fight scenes. Plenty of character development, especially this serves as Morales’ introduction to movies. I assume a lot of people still were unaware of him before this film, and it is a fabulous introduction.

When I say it tries so much, it is not going the safe route. The animation at first was off putting, very out there, reminding me a bit of the Spider-Man: The New Animated Series that premiered on MTV in 2003. But after a little bit, it was easy to go with the flow, and accept the weirdness of the animation. It was also a nice cross with actual comic books, and really immersed the viewer.

The voice acting was great with the large cast. They have award winning actors in roles that suit them, Cage being the best PI Spider-Man ever created, Mulaney with his regular awkward voice handling the pig, and more. Everyone completely morphs into their role. Even though Moore isn’t as young as Morales, it never felt disjointed and I hope he can voice this character for awhile (and be given more roles in more projects!).

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is the gift that keeps on giving. For Spider-fans, you will be blown away. For comic fans, you will appreciate the story and craft. For animated fans, you should be stoked that there is something that isn’t another Disney/Pixar sequel. And for everyone else, well, hopefully you like to laugh.

4 out of 4.

Flower

I received a screener for the indie film Flower awhile before it came out, at least a whole month. It seems like they were going hard on the advertisement campaign, at least from the critic level. I of course accepted to watch it, I love online screeners. All of the value of theaters, but in my chair at home.

But really in this introduction, I just want to talk about the plot description. “A sexually curious teen forms an unorthodox kinship with her mentally unstable stepbrother.”

Oh. Oh no. They are going to have sex aren’t they? That is the only thing I am getting out of this, and well, from the first frame of the first scene, I assumed there’d be some forms of pseudo incest in this movie.

Awkward Kiss
Well, that is probably not the stepbrother.

Erica (Zoey Deutch) is a 17 year old girl, and she is obsessed with dicks. Like little kid Jonah Hill in Superbad obsessed, except she doesn’t have one of her own. She also loves blow jobs. Erica and her friends (Dylan Gelula, Maya Eshet) use these obsessions to their advantage, by giving blow jobs to older people, especially those with authority, in order to blackmail them for cash. This is a fun review so far.

Erica is doing it (besides for enjoyment) to raise money to bail her real dad out of jail. In the mean time, her mother (Kathryn Hahn) has found someone new to finally be with (Tim Heidecker). Someone who will put up with Erica’s antics (not in that way).

Well, he also comes with an older son, who is about to get out of rehab. That means Erica is going to gain a soon to be step brother (Joey Morgan), who took lame drugs, has anger issues, and is totally overweight. She still has agreed to be nice to him and to get him better into society. What she learns is that he also claims to have been sexually assaulted by a teacher a few years back.

Now Erica and Luke are going to get together, to get revenge, and maybe form a bond for their dysfunctional family.

Also starring Adam Scott and Eric Edelstein.

Parents
Nope. Neither of these people are probably her stepbrother either.

Without a doubt, Flower took my worst fears as to what this movie might be about and ran with them. They were not worried about being a film that had morals or anything to stop them, they just wanted to tell a story no matter how fucked it was. Underage girls talking about and doing blow jobs, blackmail, blackmail, and blackmail. Love of a step sibling, or soon to be step sibling, which is technically not wrong just frowned upon. We´re looking at you Brady Bunch.

And that isn´t even all of the messed up events that occur, just the rest of them would constitute spoilers, and I am not going to do you like that.

Deutch carries this film as our wild lead, straddling the line between extremely in control young person and winging it girl who always manages to squeeze by. She cares not about her reputation, so her actions can become quite erratic and it is a fun film to see.

I was very surprised by Morgan as well, assuming I would hate him, solely based on his looks and backstory. But as a troubled individual, he carried his own weight and they both felt like individually unique star crossed characters.

Flowers is not a great movie. But it is especially out there and a bit weird, which is all I really want and need to appreciate sometimes.

3 out of 4.

Bad Moms

Bad Moms thankfully came out the week before or during my vacation in the summer. A glorious time where I missed, frankly, a lot of terrible movies.

I am judging Bad Moms not just by its cover, but by the actresses picked, the trailer, and the marketing they went through. I read it was originally going to involve Judd Apatow and star Leslie Mann instead, and that made the previews make a lot more sense. It looks like a movie he would make about this subject, if it was more dramatic and had an additional 45 minutes or so.

But to come out with this film, with the lame title, the same year Dirty Grandpa [Editor’s Note: This made more sense when I said Bad Grandpa, but that was years ago. I am too lazy to change this joke]? As Bad Santa 2? Come on, we all know 2016 sucked, but was it really necessary to make so many bad films?

Drinking
The worst thing a mom can do is drink when her children are 12 years past breastfeeding, don’t cha know.

Amy (Mila Kunis) is a hard working mother. She makes breakfast, she works extra hours at her part time job, she comes home and makes dinner, she volunteers with the PTA, she takes her kids (Oona Laurence, Emjay Anthony) to after school activities and helps with all of their projects. Her husband (David Walton) has a relatively easy job, but it brings in the money. Except he doesn’t help with all of the extra stuff, leaving it all on her.

And then she finds him jerking it to a cam model, live, and he has been doing it for 10 months now. So she wants a break. She kicks him out and goes out drinking. She meets Carla (Kathryn Hahn), another single mom (with a much older kid) and they have a blast. They eventually gain Kiki (Kristen Bell) as well after Amy defies the PTA president (Christina Applegate) in front of the entire PTA. Kiki is even more overstressed and needs to have fun.

So you know, they go and have more fun. They make their kids make breakfast, do their own work and start focusing on themselves more. I know, very bad moms indeed. And when the PTA president gets angry at Amy’s kids for defying her, Amy decides she is going to run against her and promise a whole lot less work.

Also featuring Jay Hernandez as a single dad who Amy likes. And J.J. Watt as a soccer coach. And Wanda Sykes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Wendell Pierce, and Clark Duke.

Stores
Bad moms apparently are real big jerks in grocery stores.

Damn it, here I am, spending my time, trying to watch what might be the worst of the worst in 2016, and then I find myself wasting time with Bad Moms. Because Bad Moms isn’t the worst of the worst. Is it great? Hell no. But it isn’t downright terrible either.

Yes, I am disappointed that I didn’t hate it more, but it had a handful of amusing moments. Sure, Hahn’s character was just terrible. Bell has done better way before. And Kunis never feels believable in this role. Technically the best person in their role might be Applegate as the stuck up, stereotypical, PTA President. Which is a weird place to see her career at the moment.

Bad Moms is full of wish fulfillment, and of course the message that moms matter too, so they should have fun more and let their kids grow up without them always holding their hands. And that dads should be involved. A fine message, but something that feels like it doesn’t need to be said at this point in human history. Maybe 30-40 years ago.

It is jam packed with the latest party tunes, to date this movie further in a few years. There are several party montage scenes, at the bar, at the grocery store, and a much longer one of mostly average looking middle aged women partying like a college party. And that almost seems to be the entire point of the film.

Bad Moms isn’t terrible, it just is far from a great or even a good or okay movie. Better casting and better jokes would have went a long way with this film.

1 out of 4.

Captain Fantastic

That’s right, there are two Captain movies this year. But Captain Fantastic isn’t a superhero in the normal definition of the word, but if you think about it, he is still a hero to the intellectual community out there.

Which you shouldn’t be thinking about yet, because this is the introduction.

I will note that this film has Viggo Mortensen penis in it, so for those Lord of the Rings super fans, this should really get you on board.

Family Funeral
And their outfits are even fantastic!

Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen) and his wife, Leslie (Trin Miller) have decided to say fuck modern society and to live in the woods. In fact, they made this decision a long long time ago. And at this point, they have six kids. Bodevan (George MacKay), Kielyr (Samantha Isler), Vespyr (Annalise Basso), Rellian (Nicholas Hamilton), Zaja (Shree Crooks), and Nai (Charlie Shotwell). Unique names of course, so they can be unique people in the world.

Speaking of being unique, when I say living in the woods, I mean totally outside of society in Washington state. They hunt and grow their own food. They teach their kids to learn about the world, to be socialists, humanitarians, free thinkers. They train them to survive, to hunt, to build their endurance, to think through dangerous situations. They are teaching them many different languages and how to play many instruments. It is an intellectual smorgasbord.

And then Leslie dies. By her own hands, suffering from a form of PTSD after their last child died. And now they are in a strange situation. Because of how they live, her body is sent to her parents (Frank Langella, Ann Dowd), a rich couple who never approved of her life style choices and of course her husband. They are all the way in New Mexico and the father has threatened to take his children if he shows up, child endangerment laws and all, blah.

Fuck that. They are trying to give his wife a normal, casket, Christian burial. But she is Buddhist and had explicit instructions in her will, and they are not honoring that. So he has to load up their bus and take his family down to New Mexico, through civilization, where the hardest training is yet to come, for all of them.

Also starring Kathryn Hahn and Steve Zahn.

Secrets
Learning how to break and enter into a house can be the difference between life and death, technically.

It is hard to classify Captain Fantastic into a few genres, it turns out. I called it a Black Comedy, but it really doesn’t even fit that bill, and Black Comedy is usually the “weird films that are uneasy and funny catch up” category. A serious drama, comedy, absurd movie maybe. Not Rubber absurd, but it just comes out with such completely counter culture points of right off the back it can take you by surprise.

None of the philosophies or ideas expressed in the film are new of course, they are just taking an idea to the extreme and seeing how it plays out. It leads to a unique film and one where the viewer is happy to take the journey.

The cast of characters is wonderful, with at least 4 of the children having pretty distinct personalities. It is harder for the youngest two of course. Mortensen plays a dad trying to do what he thinks is the best for his children, and it shows. The acting is phenomenal all around, with plenty of smaller amusing scenes and intellectual arguments to show the good and bad of their situation.

The ending is a bit weird, but he movie is entirely weird, so that shouldn’t be too surprising.

If you want an intellectual, weird, and slightly morbid film, Captain Fantastic is for you. If you don’t want any of that, then you might not like good films.

4 out of 4.

The Do-Over

In case you haven’t been keeping count, The Do-Over is movie #2 of the Sandler-Netflix collaboration. Netflix has said they don’t care about having the best movies, they just want a very diverse set of films, films that reach many different demographics and personality styles.

So they don’t always care about the critics. Which is why they offered Adam Sandler a four movie deal, because some people really like his brand of comedy, including the overseas market. Go figure.

Movie #1 was The Ridiculous 6, which I found very disappointing. The Do-Over seems to be going in a very different direction, both in terms of style, genre, and size of the cast. So there is a chance that this one ends up much better.

1
Holy crap, the promo images for this film are crap!

Charlie (David Spade) doesn’t like his life. And no, its not because the actor hasn’t had a hit in a long time. He is at his ten year high school reunion, watching his constantly cheating wife (Natasha Leggero) get down with the old high school prom king (Sean Astin). He is a bank manager, but the bank is inside of a grocery store. There are two step kids who treat him like shit. But then he sees Max (Adam Sandler).

Max has changed and seems really chill and cool now. And when his life goes on a vacation with him, Charlie decides to hang out with Max on a boat and have a great bro weekend. Then the boat explodes, Charlie is drugged, and Max takes him away.

Why? No, not to kill him. Max thinks that Charlie hates his life, so he decided to fake their deaths taking the identity of two people who recently died. They had a lot of money, a sweet vacation home, and they can just get away from it all and get a second chance at life. Or, you know, a do-over.

But there are problems with their plan, especially since the two men were murdered and those who are after them are going to come after them too. But that is a problem for later. Right now it is time to party party party.

Also starring Paula Patton, Kathryn Hahn, Nick Swardson, Catherine Bell, Michael Chiklis, Luis Guzman, and Torsten Voges.

2
Seriously, what do I do with any of these pictures? So generic.

The Do-Over just may very well be one of the okayiest movies I have ever seen this year. Almost on every front the film just feels average. The acting is as expected, the jokes are average, the twists are too many and the plot a little bit stupid. But some of the action scenes are entertaining, some of the jokes made me smile, and some of the twists were actually decent.

but taking it as a whole, there are a lot of stale moments. The intro goes on for too long. Too many fake identities for Sandler, and just too many twists overall.

It isn’t super strong on comedy or action, making the jokes and shots seem like after thoughts.

But when compared to the last 15 or so films, it is at least better than 12 of them. That is saying a lot about Sandler’s recent film career, but what it really says is that I loved You Don’t Mess With The Zohan and didn’t think Just Go With It, Pixels, or That’s My Boy were that bad. These comparisons still probably don’t sell the movie for you, and honestly, they really shouldn’t.

Would not super recommend.

2 out of 4.

The D Train

I am happy to say that before I watched The D Train, I knew absolutely nothing about it. I had only briefly seen the poster/DVD cover. Enough to recognize the two leads.

I actually thought this was a war movie. Again, quick glance at the cover, I thought the arm in the background was like, a gun strapped to the back. I thought they had just won a war!

Or you know, a movie about trains or something. A lonely New York meet up that turns into friendship. Fuck it, let’s just go into it.

Cool
Quit yelling. I’m trying to relax on my couch, far away from war and trains.

Dan Landsman (Jack Black) is a weird dude. But we will get into that. First let us talk about his normal tendencies.

Dan has a wife (Kathryn Hahn), a 15 year old boy (Russell Posner) and a baby girl. He has a boring job doing something and has been there for awhile. It isn’t particularly rewarding, but it pays the bills. His boss (Jeffrey Tambor) is an older guy who doesn’t like new technology and is generally swell.

And he is the self-appointed head of the Alumni committee for his high school class. The others (Kyle Bornheimer, Henry Zebrowski, more) don’t agree with a head, but whatever, they have a 20 year old reunion to prep for. No one seems to give a shit and turn out is looking low. Things turn around when Dan finds out that the coolest kid in school, Oliver Lawless (James Marsden), has finally made it after all this time. He was an actor and wanted to be a big star and now he is in a national television commercial about sun block!

OH MAN SO COOL. He thinks if he can convince Oliver to come to the reunion, more people will show up, and he will be a hero! He just needs to fly out to LA to convince him in person. So he lies about it as a business trip to his boss and wife, just to hang out and party with Oliver.

And Oliver is a great dude. They get drunk, they get happy, they dance, they flirt with women and Dan is able to convince Oliver to show up!

And also, something very different happens. Something that has never happened to Dan before. Something that will make his trip home and subsequent weeks leading up to the reunion very weird and uncomfortable.

Drunk
Enough to drive a mediocre middle aged man to drinking? You betcha!

From the description, it looks like The D Train can be a very uncomfortable movie from start to finish. An average dude in a boring life, put into a super liberal party setting, with a man he has strangely idealized for decades. He has always wanted to live vicariously though him, but now he has the opportunity to seem cool and actually celebrate with the man. Life is wonderful!

Unfortunately, it wasn’t an uncomfortable movie, just a boring one. Sure, there was that one scene. And like, a good scene at the reunion, and maybe another good joke. And that is it.

The best thing really about this movie is that it was a different sort of character for Jack Black. Not different like Bernie, but more just regular dude. So good job Jack, diversifying your resume. That will be good help in the future assuming you need it. Marsden unfortunately adds nothing to the film. Hahn does a pretty good exasperated housewife though, sick of her husband’s shit.

The plot isn’t even that bad. With some work, better dialogues, and better…just scenes in general, it could have been a solid movie. Instead this movie is about a nickname and a dream gone wrong, and is completely forgettable.

1 out of 4.

The Visit

I was told I need to watch The Visit, for a few reasons! One, my wife likes a lot of the M. Night Shyamalan films and she needs me to tell her how it is. Good reason.

Two, I have only seen one MNS film in theaters, and that was the terrible After Earth. And come on, that doesn’t count. None of that was typical MNS. And finally, despite thinking otherwise, I have actually seen all of his films but two. I figured I was missing at least 6 or 7 by now, but somehow I have watched most of them. I kind of have to keep going at this point, no matter my preconceived notions.

As for biases, IMDB labels the film as a comedy horror. For some people who have found his recent movies to be laughably bad with terrible twists, this allows him to join in on the joke with him. If he makes things intentionally cheesy, it is a win win for him.

Bake
Kind of like how a visit with the grandparents is a win win. They get to feel loved, you get snacks.

Fifteen or so years ago, a woman left her parents house to be with an older man. They had a baby girl, then another kid. Then eventually the man left her to raise the two kids all alone. The whole time the woman would not go back to her parents for help, never communicating with them despite problems in her life.

But then they found her via the internet. They want to see their grand kids! She said no. Grand kids forced it and now Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are going by train to see them! While they are away, The Mom (Kathryn Hahn) is going on a cruise with her boyfriend to get some well deserved time off.

Becca is a smart girl, aspiring film maker, so she wants to make a documentary about her experiences. This will be used as a project to help her mom heal the past between them all and leave to a better life hopefully. Tyler is the younger brother and a rapper, who enjoys free styling about random topics for “the ladies.”

Anyways, when they get to the farm, where there is no real cell phone signal (of course), they find their Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie, not Luke Youngblood) acting strangely. They were supposed to be a couple who offer counseling to sick people at the hospital that they volunteer at. But Pop Pop just seems to clean his guns and chop wood and stay alone. Nana bakes all the time and sometimes has a wild side.

Also there is the rule that they can’t leave their room after 9:30. That is when Nana starts acting even stranger and they wouldn’t want an accident to happen in the confusion. No, not at all.

Oven
At the same time, this oven is pretty nice and big and cozy.

Ed Oxenbould has already been in a lot of things in his very young career. In fact, he was Alexander in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. He was also the worst part of that movie. Technically, he was also the worst part of this movie, but in this case, his acting wasn’t bad. Just his actual character had some annoyances.

Shit, I am completely fine with basically everything he did in this movie, except for the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad rapping. He freestyles like, 3-4 times in the film and each one is cringeworthy and awkward. It doesn’t feel like it fits his charterer at all. I assume the actor could really do it and so they included it, but I just wanted it to end immediately each time it started.

The Visit is actually a decent comedy when it needs to be and scary at the other points. As we get closer to the end, the balances shift a bit more to the scary side with a bit of absurdity. Despite the shifts in tone, the movie handles it all really well. It never feels jarring to be a bit scared and then laughing a minute later. That being said, this is not going to be the movie for you if you want an extremely funny or scary movie, as both sides are lessened in order to make the narrative work.

I enjoyed Dejonge as the lead, main narrator and it was refreshing to see such a smart teenager in a horror film. It was also interesting to her talk about the documentary she is trying to make, allowing a strange level of meta awareness to the final product movie that ends up being The Village.

More importantly, Dunagan was fantastic. She played a great Nana, pulling off the crazy, confused, and happy extremes that the character went through. The weirdness of the film relies heavily on her character, and if she wasn’t a great actress, the film would have been complete shit.

That’s right. This film wasn’t complete shit. This was a good movie. A good, new, M. Night Shyamalan movie. That factoid is probably the biggest twist of all.

3 out of 4.

Buy It! – This movie is available now on {Blu-Ray} and {DVD}.

Tomorrowland

Welcome to the world of Tomorrow!…land!

Today!

Or whenever this movie comes out in relation to when you read this review. If you are reading this right away, you have to wait two days until Tomorrowland, which sounds silly. The best thing about any of this is that I have absolutely no friggan idea what this is about.

I know Disney. I know the main star. I know that the director has done a lot of good movies. And that is all I have going into it.

Crops
By the looks of things, this movie takes place in Nebraska.

The future is scary. Global Warming, terrorism, protests, oil spills, all of that. But what if the future could be better?

Your dreamers and inventors and all of those wonderful people? What if they formed their own society free from the masses and government influence? Why, then we’d probably get a repeat of Bioshock. But this is Disney, so it instead was a wonderful place where young Frank Walker (Thomas Richardson) got to live in awe and wonder. Until he was kicked out, for reasons.

Now, many years later, our star obsessed Casey (Britt Robertson) has seen glimpses of this wonderful place, Tomorrowland. And it was exciting. And she wants to go to there! Everyone else just thinks she is crazy. But with the help of a mysterious young girl Athena (Raffey Cassidy) and older Frank Walker (George Clooney), she might finally get her wish.

The rest of the people, in order of importance with no details at all include: Hugh Lauire, Tim McGraw, Keegan-Michael Key, Kathryn Hahn, and Matthew MacCaull.

HOPE
When did Hugh Laurie get such a young boy face?

The premise behind Tomorrowland I was purposefully vague about, I hope, because it just happens to be one of those movies that is hard to describe without describing EVERYTHING. So I won’t.

However, I can say that the beginning of this movie was wonderful. We had playful banter, wonderful imagery, and a decent story going. Heck, we even had robots. Clooney and Robertson were a delight! But as the plot took a more doomsday turn, something else started to turn as well. My ability to understand the movie.

Once they got to the part of the story where the Eureka! moment occurs, it all goes down hill from there. Mostly because they rush so quickly through the explanation, it is hard to make sure you understand before they start doing something about it. But that was the most common tactic in the movie. Explain quickly and move on, so you won’t think about it and won’t realize it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But it happened and the ending was kind of terrible and very anything goes by the end.

Which is a real shame, because I was enjoying it a lot before it got to that point. I am kind of SUPER disappointed that it didn’t end spectacularly. I don’t want to be hand held, I just want things to make sense. The movie was long and allowed for a lot to happen before they even made it to Tomorrowland. So it is a shame the end had to feel so rushed. Personally, I was left trying to discuss why certain things occurred with other movie viewers, and frankly, we kind of just gave up.

So, Tomorrowland. You were so close. If I had to compare, you were almost a Friday, but you fell flat and turned into Tuesday.

2 out of 4.

This Is Where I Leave You

This Is Where I Leave You is one of those movies that I really didn’t care about seeing right away. I knew I could wait for it, despite liking quite a few members of the cast.

What was my beef? I call it Jason Bateman fatigue. A lot of people in this movie, but his character gets to be the main character, and for the most part, his last several years of roles have been very very similar. The Switch, The Change-Up, Identity Thief, Bad Words, Horrible Bosses. He is generally an asshole character who likes to make fun of others and has bad things happen to him. Sure he is a dick, but people are usually bigger dicks, so his dick-ness is justified.

Either way, I am super tired of him because he always gets lead guy status, thanks to Arrested Development I guess (which is also the same character).

I am tired of what feels like him lazily acting on the screen. It was fine the first few times, but now I really don’t know why I expected anything other than the dead dove.

Punch
But we have female on male violence, so I guess it can’t be too bad.

Can we look at that image closer? I think I got a stunt double in here or something, because man, that looks nothing like Tina Fey or what I would imagine Tina Fey looks like mid punch.

Mort Altman is dead. He is survived by his wife (Jane Fonda) and four kids. He was an athiest, but apparently he wanted a Jewish ceremony at his death and have his family sit shiva. That is an older tradition where the family literally sits for a week (outside of food/sleep/etc) to talk and honor the dead. People are meant to visit them throughout the week as well, to allow the stories to be said in a more natural way and to pass on the legacy of the individual. I learned about it at first from Weeds.

So we have Judd (Bateman) who is about to get separated from his wife (Abigail Spencer) because he found her in bed with his boss (Dax Shepard). Wendy (Tina Fey) is upset over her husband (Aaron Lazar) for being too busy with work, not able to stay, but also having to deal with kids and former lovers. Paul (Corey Stoll), the oldest, who wants to take over the family business cannot seem to get his wife (Kathryn Hahn) pregnant. And Phillip (Adam Driver) is younger, reckless, and dating a much older woman, a psychiatrist (Connie Britton), who actually was inspired by their family to go into her field.

What? Oh yeah, their family was written about by their mother in a book, so people know all about their lives. In a way, this makes it very similar to Peep World, but no one watched Peep World.

And yeah. Shenanigans. Also with Ben Schwartz, Debra Monk, Rose Byrne and Timothy Olyphant.

Sit
Shenanigans I say!

Overall, This Is Where I Leave You is a typical dysfunctional family comedy film. Maybe with more physical punches between and from siblings, but nonetheless, a lot of this is pretty typical.

TIWILY does attempt to do some things differently. With Bateman’s story line, there are unexpected elements behind it and they were a bit refreshing. But Driver’s plot was incredibly standard, Fey’s seemed like filler, and Stoll’s was underdeveloped.

The best part of the film is actually Jane Fonda! Her character is hilarious and really helps mesh the whole movie together. If you needed a reason to check this movie out at some point, Jane would be your reason.

A lot of it is predictable, a lot of it is okay. Overall, it just feels like too much. None of it feels realistic, to have so many things happen this way in a week, so it is hard to relate to any of the characters, at least from my point of view.

Shh. Go away. Review is over~.

2 out of 4.