The Predator

I don’t think I saw the first Predator movie, nor did I see the next one. I did see both Alien vs Predator films though, and of course, Predators, from a handful of years ago.

I think I would enjoy the first Predator movie, it sounds like it is really well made and will have high levels of tension, especially in the end. I will put it on my list. I still know roughly the events of these films, because hey, geek and movie culture.

But to continue the string of very nondescript movie titles. this one is going to be called The Predator, because I guess there is only going to be one. That is some Highlander stealing shit right there. And since it is directed by Shane Black, I can only assume that it will take place during Christmas.

Pred1
Time to hang up the people stockings.

Let’s all head to Mexico! Where there are drug deals, of course! Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) is an asshole, but he is our asshole. He is also a good soldier and sniper. Sure it basically cost him his marriage, being all soldier-y and out a lot, but he is still a good soldier. And during a mission, a space ship crashes nearby with a scary creature with invisible capabilities.

So he does what any hard working American would do in that case. He steals some of the monster’s equipment and mails it to his P.O. Box at his home city. Thanks to plot though, they go to his home, so his young autistic son (Jacob Tremblay) can find it and mess with alien stuff.

Through other plot, the alien gets captured by secret space force people. We got a real mean dickhead (Sterling K. Brown, who seems to be getting younger in his roles) who wants to unlock their potential. We got an alien biologist (Olivia Munn) who is surprisingly good at shooting things with various weapons. Hell, we have a whole bus load of “crazy” PTSD soldiers that they are hiding away who are going to be dealing with this thing.

But most importantly, this will end up taking place over Halloween. Damn Shane Black, way to trick us.

Also starring Yvonne Strahovski, Trevante Rhodes, Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Key, Jake Busey, Augusto Aguilera, and Alfie Allen.

Pred2
Well I guess instead of hanging stockings, they are just hanging Halloween decorations. Makes more sense.

The Predator is basically a trash movie. A movie that feels like an incredible waste of time, and did not live up to any of the expectations that I went in with. And honestly, I didn’t have many.

People tried to talk about what the trailer implied, but I didn’t see it, so I didn’t know where they were coming from. Instead, I just know it is a crap film. Why? Well, this film is basically a comedy. It is very much almost a slapstick comedy. Because we have this group of men with zany personalities (because of mental disturbances) they all have quips and one liners. This means everyone, starting with the guy who is supposed to be the joke maker, all the way down to the more serious characters. It is like they wanted to make The Avengers, but you know, PTSD army folks.

Gosh, the humor was so annoying. At no point could a viewer feel threatened or scared by the predators. When everything is a goddamn joke, it is hard for anything to really draw the viewer in. Tense moments are wasted by jokes and by extremely bad cut jobs. This film moves all over the place, and it is hard to judge how time works. We quickly go from a night scene to an early morning scene, a literal night and day difference, in the final action sequences. If there were a lot of practical effects (/people in suits) it is wasted by the other CGI effects. The kills aren’t too great. And the predator v predator fight is not worth any amount of hype.

AND HOW THE HELL ARE THEY GOING TO HAVE A FILM CALLED THE PREDATOR WITH MORE THAN ONE PREDATOR.

This cannot be the movie people were hoping to get. Somewhere a better film might exist, but really, it needs a plot upheaval and most of it to be re-shot with a different cast. Yeah, we just need a different movie.

1 out of 4.

The Star

As of writing this introduction to The Star, there is only one mainstream / mainstream movie I have yet to see for the year, and at this point I can say that 2017 just overall sucked.

So many sequels of films that didn’t need them, offering nothing new. We have stories that are based on books and don’t rise up to their level. We have original works that don’t focus on the smaller elements. We have two fucking LEGO movies.

And then we have The Star. The cherry on top of the year. I haven’t released all the reviews I just mentioned, because at least one or two films were actually good, but I will let them happen eventually through the rest of this month and January. But it should be obvious I was not looking forward to The Star in any level.

Donkey
No film has starred a donkey successfully since Shrek.

The film starts off at “9 months B.C” because they need to make it obvious. This angel talks to Mary (Gina Rodriguez) that God is about to give her that baby, and she is like yes!

Now, months later we can focus on the real hero, Bo (Steven Yeun)! Bo is a donkey, a mill donkey, who spends most of his day walking in a circle, moving the mill. Hard labor. He has big dreams though. He wants to get out of the mill and carry around important people, like royalty, like the horses. Oh yeah, that would be the life. Eventually he does get to break out and finds himself in the barn of Mary and Joseph (Zachary Levi). You see, they just got married, and Joseph is of course worried about her baby bump. But she says it is from God, and he prayed so it must be okay.

What is not okay is some animals have spread the story of the angel and the future king, which has gotten to the ears of the current King. The new King doesn’t like that and sends people out to look for and kill this dude. Also, they are having a Census, so everyone has to travel to Bethlehem, or else! I don’t know what the or else is, but no matter the condition they must go.

So Mary and Joseph are traveling when she is about to pop, with a Donkey and a bird (Keegan-Michael Key) and a lamb (Aidy Bryant), and along the way they get into many shenanigans.

Either way, this story is pretty common, so you know where we are going with it and the whole thing is basically spoiled.

There are so many goddamn people who they grabbed to get presumably tiny quick paychecks. Because the more famous people you cram into a film, the more people will come to see it. Just ask Movie 43. We have as animals or the occasional other human: Christopher Plummer, Ving Rhames, Gabriel Iglesias, Kelly Clarkson, Anthony Anderson, Patricia Heaton, Kris Kristofferson, Kristin Chenoweth, Mariah Carey, Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Tracy Morgan, Delilah (from the Radio), Joel McCrary, Phil Morris, and Joel Fuck The Poor Osteen.

Camel
Winfrey, Jordan, and Perry are camels. Seems…racist.

Just like I have mentioned in previous films about mythology, I don’t care if they change aspects from the original stories, because who cares, they are made up stories as well. I didn’t care with The Rock’s Hercules, I didn’t care with Percy Jackson, and I don’t care with the Star.

But if I was Christian, I would be insulted by this film. To take one of the hallmarks of your religion and turn it into a big awkward joke. To have Mary and Joseph worry so much about the donkey and bird hanging out with them, making light of some king dude, and basically implying everything worked out well due to some animals.

Shit, the manger scene before it was set up had the horses basically making meta jokes about how convient it was for there to be this space, this manger, and a big awkward shining light on it that had been bugging them for weeks.

However even worse, I am going to quote the end of the film. This is Oprah as a camel, talking about the ending (spoilers?). Seriously, real words here, it took me awhile to get it all down: “You know, I think people are gonna remember this night. What happened here around this manger will be celebrated for thousands of years. Families will come together and exchange presents and sing carols, all to remember the grace of this moment that we are witnessing right now.”

That isn’t even funny at this point, as they basically stare at the camera to update us on what sometimes happens around Christmas.

The plot is full of mostly filler material, a lot of non exciting chase scenes, a very gullible husband, a very confident wife, and a shit ton of actors earning some money. But hey, at least the colors of Mary/Joseph were attempted to be correct.

0 out of 4.

Win It All

Netflix has been on a role with its comedies and drama films coming out basically weekly. So after the last month or so, I was excited to see Win It All.

Joe Swanberg, the director, has done a lot of indie pictures, and honestly, a lot of them I have felt have only been okay. Teamed up with Jake Johnson though, who helped write this script, there was potential for greatness. (Yes, I know that he already directed him in Drinking Buddies and I didn’t care for that film). Despite that though, Jake Johnson was in Safety Not Guaranteed, which was wonderful! So I had hope, especially given the Netflix trend.

Although it is about gambling and a lot of gambling films seem to go in the same direction. Hopefully this one can surprise me.

Money
Fat stacks of cash are not surprising. Where is my gambling for pennies film?

Eddie (Jake Johnson) likes the thrill of gambling. He is an expert on Texas Hold ‘Em, except for when he loses. At this point in his life, he has a small house that he rents, he works helping cars park correctly at large events, and spends most of his money at the table. Yes, he is addicted, but he stopped going to those shitty meetings.

And then his neighbor (José Antonio García) asks him a favor. He has to go to jail for about nine months, so he needs Eddie to store a bag in his place, no touching or looking at it, and when he gets back he will give him $10,000. Pretty sweet deal.

It doesn’t take long before Eddie opens the bag though and yeah, it is stocked with cash and other items. If he just borrows a little bit of the money as seed money, $500, he can win some major cash, pay it back, and start being a success again at life. I think you know where he is going with this.

Now down a shit ton of money, Eddie is fearing for his life. He has to get his life back on track, and fast. He will go work for his brother (Joe Lo Truglio), while also impressing a new girl (Aislinn Derbez), and trying his hardest to not gamble his life away.

Also starring Keegan-Michael Key as his sponsor, Steve Berg, Cliff Chamberlain, and Nicky Excitement.

GROUP
When my legs are spread out, it is to show I am definitely paying attention.

I thought Win It All would be different, I hoped and hoped. I mean, a lot of gambling films are about the thrills of winning and losing it all, but the people in them rarely have “problems” with addiction. They go and say that our main character does, he goes to meetings, and then he fucks over his entire life thanks to gambling.

There is no way that he will save the day and win the girl through gambling. Absolutely impossible. That would be entirely unthinkable and a terrible message to send to those who have problems with gambling. And it fucking happens.

Major spoilers incoming. After getting even further and further into his hole, with the deadline of fixing it moving up, Eddie’s sponsor introduces him to a table where the stakes are incredibly high. And he gets even further in the whole. But sure enough, he puts the last of his money in and gets ahead, way way ahead. And he was going to keep going after getting far ahead. The only reason he stopped was because he had a heart attack, so he had to go to the hospital, and yay the day is saved! He even fixed things with the girl.

End movie.

Fucking what? How goddamn irresponsible. It could have been a complete shit storm where the film ended him dead after getting shot by the guy back from prison, and it would have been better. He could have not regressed and continued to work at his job and paid it off in installments, and it would have been better. But this ending feels incredibly poor tasting in my mouth, and ruins what was a completely average film.

1 out of 4.

Storks

Storks came out in September of this year and as far as I can tell was immediately forgotten. The theme was original, this year was flooded with animal animate films, and I only remembered it existed thanks to it coming out on DVD in early December. Feels fast, just 2 and a half months, which means they wanted to rush it to attempt to get some holiday sale loving.

I am only watching it to be a competionist, with no actual knowledge of the plot before hand or even how it did in theaters. I literally just forgot it existed. And it is about birds, babies, and I dunno, adults?

Baby
There is an adult! Or at least a teenager.

Storks used to deliver babies, everyone knows that right? But they got out of that game, and now they just deliver packages under the name cornerstore.com! And business is successful. They stopped delivering babies because one stork, Jasper (Danny Trejo), went insane with a baby, breaking her beacon (so they couldn’t find out where she belonged), and sort of ruining their reputation. Once again, they just deliver packages now, and that baby, Tulip (Katie Crown) has just been awkwardly growing up in their work place.

Junior (Andy Samberg) is one of their best delivery storks and has just completed his 1,000,000th package. So the boss, Hunter (Kelsey Grammer), calls him up to tell him the news. Hunter is getting promoted, and Junior will take his place as the boss, but only if Junior will “fire” Tulip from their warehouse. She has turned 18 today, so she is no longer their responsibility. She has been causing problems though, and bringing down profits, so she has to go.

But Junior can’t fire her, so he puts her in a room alone, the letter division, to process incoming mail. This isn’t in use anymore, it was for baby requests. But one kid, Nate (Anton Starkman), wants a baby brother with ninja skills, and his parents (Ty Burrell, Jennifer Aniston) don’t want one really. Tulip receives the letter, processes it, and boom, a baby is created, and now there is a big problem.

Now Junior has new problems. He has to deliver the baby so the big bosses don’t see it, while hiding Tulip and taking her to the planet below. But his wing is broken and he can’t fly. Shit. What’s this? An adventure in the making?

Also featuring Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Stephen Kramer Glickman, and Christopher Nicholas Smith.

Baby love
Some very strange scenes also with the baby and other animals.

Storks basically went how I expected. Literally almost every single element. Sure, you wouldn’t know every detail about why wolves are involved. But the sorts of struggles involved in getting the baby to its home, who the bad people are, and how the film will probably end? Yeah, entirely as expected.

In the entirety of the film, I really only enjoyed two moments. The absurdity of the wolf pack working together, and the “silent fight” near the end in order to ensure that the baby would stay asleep. Those few moment save the movie from the zero rating, because everything else just felt dull, unfunny, and unoriginal. Another positive note from this film is that not every major role was from a famous celebrity, but actually voice actors. That is rarer nowadays, so it get a few props for that.

Not even my current love of babies could make me enjoy this film. And practically every damn movie with a baby (especially a girl) can instantly affect my emotions. Let that be a lesson to you films, make them good first, then add in the kid for me to care. I’m looking at you, The Boss Baby.

1 out of 4.

Don’t Think Twice

Don’t Think Twice. Does that mean to live in the moment (and don’t over think things) or is it actually cautionary. Don’t think just two times man, think about stuff a lot.

Sorry, this intro is already bad, let’s assume I know that and move on.

I tried stand up comedy before. Just once. I attempted to turn stories I have told my friends for laughs into jokes, but unfortunately I just came across as pathetic. With that, my foray into stand up comedy was over, but it was still a good experience. Those stereotypically awkward people have to have some amount of courage and respect, to bare their souls on stage and hope people like what they have, dragging their bodies through hecklers and smelly back stages to rise to the stop.

It is a hard life and one I wouldn’t wish upon most people.

Love
Especially those who make strange faces when pointing.

Being a stand up comic is hard, yeah, I know this because movie and television shows tell me all the time. You have to be funny, deal with dicks, you have to balance the creep/pathetic/fun line, and you get bad knees. You know, from all the standing.

The Commune is an improv group in NYC, made by Miles (Mike Birbiglia) a few years ago, and has moderate success. He also teaches improv classes, because he has bills to pay. Thankfully he also has a few roommates. The roommates being the entire rest of the group! There is Jack (Keegan-Michael Key) and Samantha (Gillian Jacobs), a couple romantically. Jack sometimes shows off, and Samantha is the emcee of the group. Allison (Kate Micucci) is a great artist, working on a graphic novel. Lindsay (Tami Sagher) has rich parents and thus doesn’t have to worry as much about survival. Finally, Bill (Chris Gethard) is our stereotypical comic looking guy who just exists and has bad things happen to him.

Things are going okay for the group, a bunch of funny people. They all want to get on the show called Weekend Live, basically Saturday Night Live.

And of course, one or more of them might actually get interviewed and make it on the cast. Regardless of perceived talent, experience, or anything.

How that fame changes the dynamic of their house and the group, who all want to reach their own goals is the real story here.

Maybe a little bit of improv as well.

Group
Oh my god, look at all the improv!

Don’t Think Twice features an impressive line up of comedians who probably all had experience with imrpov or being a stand up comic. And hey, as far as I can tell, none of them have actually been on Saturday Night Live, to give some more authenticity to it all. Unfortunately, a movie about improv also strangely acts like a film with mostly no improv at all. Outside of some hang out scenes, it feels very structured, having to get to the point it needs to make.

What points are that? Well, improv is hard, comedy is hard, and the world can be a cruel mistress that never lets you get a chance to succeed at just because of luck or timing. Yeah, real life sucks, which is why we go to movies for escapism. But it is important for these sorts of movies to exist as well, to give us an inside look at different ways of life and learn a little bit about the world.

I know, I know, if your goal was to learn about the world, you probably weren’t talking about improv comics in NYC. It becomes a more welcoming topic when you realize these are the type of people who eventually become our favorite entertainers. People wonder why comedians kill themselves, suffer from depression or just are simple pessimists. But the road to success is full of trouble and knowing that can help one understand why people become hard or distant.

Don’t Think Twice is real (and realistic), decently funny, and a bit sad. I was a bit disappointed with the chemistry between our improv troupe, they didn’t always feel like a group of friends who lived and worked together. For those who like comedian though, this sort of film is a must watch and help put a little piece of the world into perspective.

3 out of 4.

The Angry Birds Movie

When they first announced The Angry Birds Movie, you couldn’t have paid me to see the prescreening of it. That is because I was steadily employed when it was first announced. Now, when the actually prescreening occurred, I would have gladly accepted money to go to it. Alas, if I went I would have had to go for free and that still wasn’t good enough.

Now I played Angry Birds before. Yeah, like, in 2010, really early after it came out. I had an Android phone and it was 100% free, with a lot of components to it, so yeah, I played the shit out of it. Then I eventually stopped caring. I hated the space game, hated the star wars one, and well, just stopped caring, and never looked back.

At the same time I was annoyed by all the clothing and merchandising that was suddenly existing. It was just a small phone game, why would someone want a backpack with them on it? Oh well, I ignored it and then hey, six years after the game, a movie appeared.

Needless to say, waiting for it on DVD was always a safe bet for me.

Red anger grrr
Oh yeah, they really captured his anger there.

Red (Jason Sudeikis), is a bird, and he is angry. Everyone else on this island is happy, but not him. He is pissed off. All the minor things really piss him off. And after a series of incidents, he has found himself face first in an egg, so now the chick thinks he is its daddy. So the family goes to court over the incident and the judge (Keegan-Michael Key) sentences him to Anger Management class, the harshest sentence!

At the class, it is run by a white bird named Matilda (Maya Rudolph). He also meets a yellow bird who is incredibly fast, Chuck (Josh Gad), a big black bird who explodes sometimes, Bomb (Danny McBride), and a very, very large red bird who doesn’t talk a whole lot, Terence (Sean Penn).

But wait! A ship appears over the ocean. On it, a large pig named Leonard (Bill Hader), bringing gifts and technology to their small area. Everyone loves them, except for Red, because his house gets damaged in their arrival and he doesn’t let it go. All of the other birds get annoyed at Red’s anger and basically make him leave. Red decides that something must be up, as more and more pigs are arriving every day. He decides to bring Chuck and Bomb with him on a quest to find the Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), famed super bird who can FLY to help save the day.

And if that doesn’t work, well, then maybe they will have to fix things on their own before everything goes sour.

Also featuring voice work from Kate McKinnon, Tituss Burgess, Hannibal Buress, Tony Hale, and Ike Barinholtz.

Pig
Oh, that pig is a king too. Royalty. King Leonard, the majestically hammy.

If you couldn’t tell, I went into this movie expecting to hate it. A franchise that has become both forgettable and annoying, about a game with not a lot of plot. It seemed like a cash grab (and regardless of quality, it is still that). Judging from the animation style, I expected it to be just as annoying as most of the Minions movies have been.

And then I laughed. I laughed quite a few times. I was surprised at how much humor they actually smushed into the film. It has a pretty standard 90 minute-ish run time, but there are so many things going on, almost at all times. It was made for the ADHD crowd. Background jokes, frontground jokes, puns, double meanings, and more. And of course globs of reference humor. The last time I saw this many jokes in an animated film was Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2.

Despite how quick everything went, it still also took its time, surprisingly. It took almost a whole hour into the film before the pigs finally went bad and did the bad stuff, leaving just the last act to chase them down and tear down their city in retaliation, aka, the angry birds game part. Normally that would be an issue but time surprisingly flew by.

Heh, like the birds when you sling them.

The Angry Birds Movie has a shitty title and a shitty franchise, but damn it, it was a pretty funny film and a decent experience. It won’t change the animated world, but it will make you giggle.

3 out of 4.

Keanu

Reviewing films when they come out on DVD isn’t bad, it is expected for at least a third of all releases!

But like usual, the movie I am reviewing way later is a comedy. Keanu. Why did I not see it in theaters? I dunno, probably just lazy at that point. I also have never watched the sketch show Key and Peele, just random scenes on YouTube, so I wasn’t interested in some strange cat movie sketch.

I also didn’t even know if the cat talked. I think it does. Or did I get it confused with Nine Lives? Also, maybe both are talking cats? This one with Keanu Reeves as the voice, right?

Kitty!
Yeah, he has those rascally Reeves eyes, that’s for sure.

Clarence Goobril (Keegan-Michael Key) and Rell Williams (Jordan Peele) are two boring, regular, dudes. Clarence is married, wife (Nia Long) and kids, drives a minivan. Rell is heartbroken, because he was just dumped. But then he finds a kitten. Not just any kitten, the cutest kitten in the world.

Now, later, Rell is back to work, inspired, and Clarence is about to have some days to himself. Tim for some bro time! That means watching a movie! However, when they get back home, Rell’s house was broken into, smashed up, and Keanu the kitten was stolen! They find out from the local drug dealer (Will Forte) that it was most likely Chedder (Method Man) and his gang, looking for his house. Shit.

So it is simple. They have to get the cat back, and they have to infiltrate his club. They just have pretend to be thugs, pretend to be tough and just try and buy the kitten back. That way no one gets hurt, especially them. But then they get confused with some real badass people from Allentown and have to instead help the crew sell some drugs to earn the kitten. Can’t be too hard, non educated people do it all the time!

Starring Tiffany Haddish, Darrel Britt-Gibson, Jason Mitchell, Jamar Malachi Neighbors, Luis Guzman, Rob Huebel, and Anna Faris.

Guns!
Running and shooting at the same time in plaid is the first skill a gangster learns.

I honestly didn’t care about Keanu when it came out. And yes, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

Peele and Key do awkward right. They wear that uncomfortable atmosphere on their face and run with it. This is full of overacting on their parts, but it also fits their characters just trying not to die, while also believing themselves to be larger than life individuals.

The movie opened up slow, but once they were in the club it really hit its stride. The voices, the backstory, the names, all gold. The obsession with George Michael and his songs filling the soundtrack were a comedic plus. Back flips, gun shots, celebrity deaths and more. I was just surprised all around.

I also wasn’t a giant fan of the ending. After everything had finished, it petered off a bit too long and the twists weren’t worth it. But Keanu is still full of laughs and a really decent time waster. I might watch even more random clips on YouTube, right now.

3 out of 4.

Freaks of Nature

2015 (which feels like a long time ago), had a few horror comedies all released in the span. You know, October-ish.

There was Cooties, the only one I ended up watching, that didn’t blend its horror and comedy well enough to warrant a rewatch ever.

There was Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, which I didn’t see, still haven’t seen, so I am not sure why I brought it up.

And Freaks of Nature, which didn’t even get a theatrical release as far as I can tell. And of course, I decided to watch it before Scouts Guide, because it has my second favorite character from Sky High.

group
This movie unfortunately doesn’t have Bruce Campbell.
I unfortunately say that about most movies I see.

The town of Dillford is a strange place. Here, and maybe elsewhere in the United States, humans, vampires, and zombies live in peaceful coexistence. Sure, there are things that bother people, and you have bigots, but for the most part they can live and not kill each other.

That is until the aliens come. Because a fourth entity can only mean trouble. Everyone begins to fear the other side, and soon, all out chaos erupts in the town, with friends fighting friends and no one knowing what the aliens are up to. It is up to three teenagers to save the day. Who I will talk about so I can tag a lot of actors.

Dag (Nicholas Braun) is our human hero, and a bit of a lame dude. He is super in to Lorelei (Vanessa Hudgens), but she just uses him to store weed in his house. His parents (Bob Odenkirk, Joan Cusack), think he smokes as well (like them!) but no, he doesn’t.

He used to be good friends with Ned (Josh Fadem), a smart guy. Ned is pissed off at his family (Ian Roberts, Rachael Harris, Chris Zylka), who are into sports and meat and hate smart kids. So eventually he decides to say fuck it, and let a zombie bite him. Less pressure that way.

And then there is Petra (Mackenzie Davis), a girl who was called a slut despite never really having sex. And she thinks she is about to have sex with a Edward Cullen looking dude (Ed Westwick), but he actually wants to make her a vampire. And well, screw it you know. He wants to be with her forever. Well, let’s just say he is a dick.

Also featuring Denis Leary, Mae Whitman, Keegan-Michael Key, Patton Oswalt, Pat Healy, and Werner Herzog.

Nekkid
Gotta get those website clicks somehow.

For a straight to DVD, probably low budget, comedy horror, I found myself laughing way more than I expected. It was never scary, because horror just means “has vampires and zombies in it” sometimes. And that is okay. Clearly this is a movie not meant to be taken seriously and provide a good time.

And damn it, it does. While also giving me the necessary high school angst that is necessary for movies set in that age group. Sex scandals, bullies, sports, drugs, and teachers being dicks. We get all of that plus zombies and vampires! And sure, an alien or two.

There isn’t actually a whole lot to say about this film as a whole besides it being a good time. Our leads are okay, in particular I am becoming a decent fan with Mackenzie Davis. I’ve seen her now in two movies with a lead, the other being That Awkward Moment, and enjoyed the crap out of her characters. Her side characters have been fine too. Out of everyone in this cast, I hope she breaks out soon.

Braun, you are a funny dude too, but keep to the smaller movies. You thrive in them.

I want more silly movies like that. Let’s make a sequel folks. But you know, more horror tropes.

3 out of 4.

Hotel Transylvania 2

Happy Marcho-wene! For those who read this months from now, I quite lazily decided to finally review Hotel Transylvania 2 in March. Hell, it even came out to DVD in January. No excuse valid, not even a busy Oscar season.

I thought Hotel Transylvania was only okay and really wasn’t surprised it had had a sequel. The animation isn’t top tier, so it is probably relatively easy to throw together a movie. And you know everyone in the voice cast is available for work. They keep busy, but they keep busy together.

Except for one person. CeeLo Green! He voiced the mummy in the last movie, but this time he is nowhere to be found. Instead they got Keegan-Michael Key to voice the mummy, keeping their “token black role” to one I guess?

GPA
Oh, and now old people might be voicing characters!

Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Jonathan (Andy Samberg) are getting married! But that isn’t the important plot point. They invite all of the family over, on both sides, except for Mavis’ Grandpa (Mel Brooks). He apparently doesn’t like humans. That will come back later.

Then they have a kid. A little ginger kid (Asher Blinkoff), gross I know. Because he is a male, Dracula (Adam Sandler) assumes he has inherited the vampire DNA (because his genetics is weird) and can’t wait for him to go doing Monster stuff. But instead, he can’t fly, has no fangs, can’t turn into a bat, and does a lot of normal baby things. Mavis is now very protective of the baby, living in the harsh Hotel monster environment. Jonathan just wants her to trust a babysitter and let them spend some time alone together.

Now it is like, five years later and it is still the same. Mavis wants to move to California, where Jonathan comes from, to live a normal and safe life. So Jonathan agrees to take her on a trip, but he likes the hotel and likes working there. So Jonathan and Dracula agree to hatch a plan: While they are gone checking out Cali, Drac will take the kid and go on a fear-adventure with his friends (Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key) to scare him into going full vampire. Jonathan will try and make her think California is terrible so she won’t want to leave. Can’t go wrong.

Also featuring the work of Rob Riggle (Which was great), Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, and Dana Carvey.

Rainbow Teeth
Jonathan fucked up. How could you go back when you get rainbow teeth?!

Hotel Transylvania 2 doesn’t live up to its predecessor. It also doesn’t improve anything along the way, with the exact same quality of animation.

First of all, it takes a long time to really understand just what this movie is about. Sure, vaguely it is about the family the whole film, but that isn’t a plot, those are just characters. A good third of the movie happens at least before we find out that the plot is a dad and husband lying to their daughter/wife, on a very ridiculous idea.

Secondly, it is all over the place in terms of applying its own rules. Namely I want to talk about vampires. They early on make the joke about how vampires can’t have their reflection, commonly shown through mirrors, but also any other thing that would capture their image. So of course, the wedding photographs are a bit funny. But then they let the vampires use skype and appear on video cameras, like they are really anything different. And of course, if they were wondering if the boy had any vampire in him, all they had to do was take a picture of him and see what happened. Unless in this world the vampireness just can develop all at once, and literally zero traits show up before hand.

Finally, the ending is a complete disaster. It ends with a complete brawl, all of our main characters versus an army of other characters (I wouldn’t want to spoil it). But yeah, it basically ends the same way that Grown Ups 2 ends. The fight is unnecessary and a bit nonsensical. It is unnecessary because it is the type of thing that could have been prevented and stopped at any moment by one of the characters literally just saying something. The bad guys wouldn’t have a beef with most of the monsters either, so they’d have no reason to attack them. And it was nonsensical, given the extreme powers that apparently exist in tiny bat forms. They just wanted to end it on a silly note, and kids like brawls I guess. But it is a shit move.

There were the occasional funny jokes. But this film had no focus and had no great conclusion. Mavis should take the baby and leave her husband and family behind, I think.

1 out of 4.

Vacation

Oh hey, Vacation. A comedy series a lot of people look back with fond memories. Because it told the truth. Family vacations are terrible, but we all grin and bear it because that is just what you gotta do.

It is a concept most people can related to, and with nostalgia being the strong bitch that it is, it makes sense for there to eventually be more Vacation movies. Movies that capture the true American spirit: cramped in a car with people you already hang out with too much. At the same time, people assume that if you make a new version of something old, the old one gets tarnished or something.

Those people are dumb.

Which is why I do declare I will not make comparisons to the first Vacation movie. I will judge this on its own merits as a new comedy, that may have references to a previous movie.

Car Ride
And my noble steed on this ride will be a small car.

Vacation is not a reboot or a remake, it is a sequel.

Rusty Griswald (Ed Helms) is now grown up and has a family of his own! He is a pretty good pilot, but works for a shitty airline that only does short domestic flights, so he can spend time with his family. His wife, Debbie (Christina Applegate) is a stay at home mom, raising the two boys. The older one, James (Skyler Gisondo) is almost done with high school, very sensitive, plays the guitar. He constantly gets picked on by his much smaller younger brother, Kevin (Steele Stebbins), who is a dick and is into wrestling.

Well, they normally go out every year to a cabin in the woods, but Rusty realizes that everyone finds it boring. So he decides to change it up. A cross country road trip from Chicago to California to go to Walley World! Yeah! Rusty had fond memories of the park as a kid, despite that one film where a bunch of bad things happened. This time it is going to go right and they are going to ride the best roller coaster in the country. Damn it.

Of course shit goes bad. Their car is weird and European, white water rafting, bad hot springs, crazy truckers, thieves, and more. They also make a pit stop to visit Rusty’s sister, Audrey (Leslie Mann), who finds the idea of a trip ridiculous. She is also super wealthy for marrying Stone Crandall (Chris Hemsworth), who is a super attractive weather man. The only other real plot line is James constantly running into Adena (Catherine Missal), a girl on another road trip.

Vacation also offers a lot of cameos. Of course we have Chevy Chase, but we also have Ron Livingston, Michael Pena, Kaitlin Olson, Nick Kroll, Tim Heidecker, Colin Hanks (Apparently), Norman Reedus, Keegan-Michael Key, and Charlie Day.

Sorority
Most of my vacations ended up at a college strip fest as well.

Vacation ends up being different than its predecessor in many ways. For one, it is a modern comedy. So there is an industry regulated volume of a dick jokes that it needs to have in its film to make it to the big screen. This sort of thing isn’t always noticeable, because if they have a lot of varied other jokes, you usually don’t even notice all the dick jokes that are secretly hiding in the back ground. Unfortunately, if a movie is 95% dick jokes, they stand out like a sore…thumb. (You thought I’d say penis, heh heh heh).

So yes, it feels like Vacation is a one trick pony, where that trick is jumping over a bar that is floating about an inch over the ground. It would have been nice if they decided to raise that bar instead and make longer smarter jokes, but those are hard and require patience I guess.

Ed Helms just wasn’t interesting. A typical character in his wheelbarrow and it didn’t seem to offer anything new. There was some good interactions between the kids, and Applegate did a fine job.

Honestly, the reason I am giving this a passing rating is for two scenes. One, Four Corners monument scene was surprising and strangely funny. But more importantly, Charlie Fucking Day. This movie is borderline watchable for his scenes alone. Hysterical. High energy. Wet. Fantastic. Technically soon you can probably find the whole scene on Youtube, but I feel like the film should get some credit for featuring something so marvelous in its data innards.

Yep. Without Charlie Day this movie would have just been downright terrible. You don’t hear that phrased that often.

2 out of 4.

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