Peter Rabbit

Ah, Peter Rabbit, a classic story turned into a movie about a rabbit and real people. CGI and humans. And bunnies.

The last time we had a CGI/live action film involving bunnies and real people was Hop, 7 years ago, and it was a goddamn disaster. It was racist and classist, with a terrible story. It was an attempt to teach that some discrimination is okay. I have no idea how the whole thing got green lit.

Is 7 years enough time to try again? Probably not. Because the one thing I heard about this film before seeing it was the huge controversy over a scene where the bunnies attack a man through his allergies. Trying to kill him by making light of a dangerous scenario, in an amusing way.

A good set up to go into a movie that already has a legacy of shit to pile its way through.

Bunny Pals
Stand back Cookie-Monster, get ready for a new healthier form of gluttony.

Old Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill) is a mean old man, who chases the bunnies out of his garden. He wants to grow his crops, they want to eat his crops. He has an artist neighbor, Bea (Rose Byrne), likes the rabbits and they trust her, so she likes to protect them.

Either way, when Peter Rabbit (James Corden) is doing his thing, taking that food, McGregor has a heart attack and dies. Damn.

Now the rabbits own the place, a big farm party, all animals, lots of foods lots of things break. But then one day, a young Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) shows up, the new owner. He has a lot of anger issues from his job, and now he finds this place he would just like to fix up and sell a disaster.

So of course he hates the rabbits, and says no to their shit. Even if he starts to find Bea attractive and wants to impress her. And this is the story of their war.

Also starring mostly the voices of Fayssal Bazzi, Sia, Colin Moody, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley.

Familypic
Some family trees are hybrids.

For a majority of this story, this film is spending its energy and effort on convincing me, a normal(ish) human male, that I should be on the side of the bunnies on this story. The bunnies who are certain that they should be able to eat the wonderful things that are grown in this garden, that a human spent time growing in order to make food for themselves or to make a profit in order to buy other things.

What in the fuck kind of movie is this? If the bunnies are so sentient that they can talk, and are just not talking to the humans out of secrecy, then goddamn it, go raise your own carrots in a garden and eat it. We can see them making traps and hatching plans, and grabbing and picking things up, then there is no excuse for this insanity.

The old man they have was mean, and he never searched out and tried to kill the rabbits. He just protected his land. Fair. The new guy? The one dealing with grief. Who also only goes out of his way to stop the bunnies when they trash his house, injure him, and kill him with his allergies. No. Just no.

They try to change it by the end, but what doesn’t change is that at least the first half if not more, it is a plot just wanting me to hate the rabbits.

What kind of values are this shit? Grow and go into poverty and depression so some bunnies can eat?

0 out of 4.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Comedy sequels have gotten a bad rep lately. Like Zoolander 2 and Dumb and Dumber To. Okay, those had many years between sequels, but like…The Hangover Part III and Horrible Bosses 2.

So I went into Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising with a skeptical face. I enjoyed Neighbors and rewatched it the morning of the screening, still holds up decently.

But the problem with comedy sequels is the direction you take it. Do you give them more of the same? If so, then it isn’t original any more. If you give them something completely unrelated, then why even make it a sequel and not an original movie?

Neighbors 2 might just be Neighbors with more women.

Ughhh
But you know, regular, chill, want to kill you women.

After Neighbors, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) returned quiet to their neighborhood. But now, Kelly is pregnant again, so they want to move to a new house with more rooms and with less neighbors. They put an offer on a house and they were accepted! However, their current home isn’t sold yet. It is on escrow. So the buying couple has 30 days to check it out and do tests and can back out at any time.

And at that moment is of course when some new people move in. Shelby (Chloƫ Grace Moretz), Beth (Kiersey Clemons), and Nora (Beanie Feldstein) want to start their own sorority, that can party and smoke weed and promote their own feminist values of sisterhood. They just have issues getting enough money to rent the place for their dreams to come true.

That is where Teddy (Zac Efron) comes in. He is feeling pretty pathetic, everyone in his life is becoming successful except for him. And Pete (Dave Franco) is now totally gay and about to get married to Darren (John Early), which means Teddy needs a place to stay. He decides to become a sort of sorority consultant to the girls in order to find value, and maybe screw over the people who gave him a criminal record and all.

Woo, prank wars!

Some smaller roles are played by Selena Gomez, Clara Mamet, and someone called Awkwafina. Also returning, albeit briefly include Hannibal Buress, Chistopher Mintz-Plasse, Jerrod Carmichael and the best friends Ike Barinholtz and Carla Gallo.

Hween
This is how I dress up when I want to look young.

Neighbors 2 actually does a good balance of keeping things original with appropriate call backs. The picture used right above ended up being one of the funniest scenes in the film and was entirely new and fresh material. My second and third favorite moments were both call backs to airbags. There are several great humorous scenes that really carry the film and overall make this film a good time while watching it.

But when comparing it to its predecessor, it doesn’t hold up as well. My main faults lie with the chemistry between Moretz, Clemons, and Feldstein, the leaders of the new sorority. It is practically non-existence. Yes, before the events of the film, they didn’t know each other, but most of their comedic scenes together never really feel too funny. Their logic and reasoning for wanting to create their own sorority is actually a good one. The film delivers a real message about sorority culture and the need for change. They just failed to make it funny.

Most of our humor is reserved for our old people roles and Efron, while the sorority side remains mostly serious in their own goals. It is a strange dichotomy in this movie.

And honestly, the ending tried to tie everything in a nice bow, but the solutions that were found don’t make a lot of sense when you examine it for just a few seconds.

Again, some great funny scenes in this movie, and strangely enough, some character growth, but they are unable to deliver their message while maintaining the funny throughout.

2 out of 4.

X-Men: Apocalypse

Here it folks, the big one. The Apocalypse is coming, despite everything Idris Elba did to cancel it.

The recent strange reboot of the X-Men franchise has been wildly successful. I enjoyed First Class and loved the crap out of Days of Future Past (which made my top of the year list), while also fixing some continuity issues that had been brought up. I used to like X2, but honestly, it hasn’t aged well with me, and I am tired as fuck of the Wolverine origin stories.

As a fan of the X-Men stories, Apocalypse has always felt like their biggest and greatest enemy. He is their Thanos or Darkseid. Not their main enemy, just their biggest threat. So to see it finally come to fruition on the big screen is both exciting and frightening. It is obvious why I am excited, but I am also frightened that I am over hyping the film. Days of Future Past did a lot of things right, so it will be hard for them to live up to that film. There are so many ways for X-Men: Apocalypse to go wrong.

But despite all this, I will do my best to not make fun of the way he looks.

Old
He looks a lot less like Ivan Ooze in the actual film!

Ten years after the events of the last film, the world has changed for Mutants. After Mystique’s (Jennifer Lawrence) speech, mutants are a bit more understood and not completely seen as threats. In America, they can look weird and walk around and most people seem to accept them. It helps that Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has gone into hiding in Poland to live a new life, and Xavier’s (James McAvoy) school is a rousing success!

Until shit starts hitting the fan. Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne) discovers cults that are worshipping ancient beings believed to be the first mutants. Sure enough, bad events occur, and En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac) is out and about after being trapped and asleep for almost 5700 years. Go fuck yourself, Rip Van Winkle. What’s an ancient deity gotta do to get some respect around here? Make a new team of individuals to help him gain more powers and enslave the world of course! That is why we get to see new people, like Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Angel (Ben Hardy), and Mowhawk Storm (Alexandra Shipp)!

Ah, the end of the world. The best time to introduce young new guys to the fold too. Like Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclopes (Tye Sheridan) who is of course Havok’s (Lucas Till) brother, Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and Jubilee (Lana Condor).

Also returning: Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Evan Peters as Quicksilver, and Josh Helman as Col. William Stryker. And featuring Warren Scherer, Rochelle Okoye, Monique Ganderton, and Fraser Aitcheson as the original four horsemen.

New
Something new, something old (Apocalypse), and a whole lot of somethings blue.

With X-Men: Apocalypse, we now have our third 2.5 hour Superhero film of the year, which must the new normal. Please be different Dr. Strange. The timing felt good for Civil War, but it was too much of a run time for this film. Plenty could have been cut out to give a more straight forward and less clunky film.

Here is the good stuff though! I almost gave this a 3 out of 4, because what worked really worked. There is a scene that actually made me tear up in this film. It was then immediately when extra lives were somehow lost without making a whole lot of sense. I will say that Magneto’s reason for getting involved seem almost completely justifiable, and like normal, Fassbender and McAvoy basically carry the film. Lawrence isn’t bad in her role, although Mystique’s arc seems just a bit weaker. In terms of new characters, Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler does a fascinating job and Turner as Jean Grey grew on me over time. Quicksilver was a lot more involved in the plot and his moments were some of the highlights of the film again. It is great that they made him more integral to the plot and confirmed some of his backstory.

And finally (a vague spoiler) we have a film where characters can actually die from these extremely powerful individuals doing battle. Thank goodness.

For most of the other players, everyone else feels underutilized. Psylocke is only really used in one fight, we get a decent amount of Angel but it isn’t great, and Storm doesn’t have many great moments. And if you were one of the dozens excited to finally get Jubilee in film, then quickly suppress that excitement, because she does diddly squat. And of course we have the wonderful OSCAR ISAAC to play the big bad guy, but for half the film his voice is distorted and there is never really a moment where he can really display any great acting, which makes the casting feel a bit wasteful.

It could have been the 3D and theater settings, but the CGI felt weaker than Days of Future Past. Apparently Apocalypse’s powers involve turning items into sand and sand into items for the most part with the occasional cool purple thing. Add in Magneto’s electric field near the end and we just get a used over and over again ugly look to the whole film.

This movie is not as good as Days of Future Past, and maybe not even as good as First Class. It is still decently enjoyable though, but it features a clunky plot with a lot of underutilized characters. The good news is that for the parts that work, they work really damn well. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy some nice fan service?

2 out of 4.

Spy

Like a lot of people, I am beginning to mistrust Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy.

Paul Feig did give us Bridesmaids, sure, but The Heat didn’t feel right with me. He also has his strange obsession with McCarthy, so when it was announced he would do a Ghostbusters reboot, it was obvious he would be casting her in it. McCarthy has had a few terrible movies, namely Identity Thief and Tammy, where it seemed through all her work she could really only play one type of character.

So of course when you see a trailer for a badly named movie like Spy, you assume it is going to be one long running fat joke. Where it is absurd that she should be in the position she is in and you know, more fat jokes. It isn’t an absurd assumption, given that is what Tammy was, a movie McCarthy even wrote for herself, unable to get herself out of her own type casting.

nuts
If this was a gif, you all would hate me.

Being a spy is a tough job, but thankfully you have a handler back at HQ who helps you out on each and every mission. Bradley Fine (Jude Law) is a spy, and a damn good one at that. But he wouldn’t be anywhere without his handler, Susan Cooper (McCarthy). She helps protect him from surprising bad guys, helps him escape, and just keeps him aware of all of his surroundings! Things can still go wrong, sure, like when Bradley accidentally kills Tihomir Boyanov (Raad Rawi), who is supposed to be the only one alive who knows about some tiny nukes that he wants to sell. Whoops. Oh well, other than that, they are a great team!

Until he dies. She wasn’t too helpful then. He was killed by Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), daughter of that other dead dude. Looks like she knows where the nukes are! She also knows every single spy that we have on record, names and what they look like, so it is incredibly unlikely of any of them being able to get close to her. Now Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney) has no idea what to do, so she agrees to let Susan go undercover to find out more information, with her best friend Nancy (Miranda Hart) serving as her handler. She is supposed to avoid Rayna and instead follow Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale), but, you know, shit happens.

On top of the whole, being a spy thing, she also has to deal with the fact that some of the agents have quit. Namely, Rick Ford (Jason Statham), one of their best, and he wants revenge on Rayna since knows all about him. Too bad she also is the only one who knows about the nukes! Can’t let her be killed as well. Oh golly gumdrops.

Also, hey! We have Will Yun Lee and Zach Woods.

hair
I normally only comment on facial hair, but come on, this is astounding.

Good news, everyone! Spy is not just one long fat joke. Sure, independently, on your own, you could giggle when a larger person does something athletic, but that is on you buddy. No, these jokes come from a deeper level. A lot more of them are based on how she has the body of a middle aged cat lady and the like. Way better than fat jokes.

In all honesty, Spy ended up being a pretty funny movie. Byrne still seems to have come out of nowhere in the comedy world, but she is still knocking it out of the park. Statham was in this movie and he was able to play a very Statham character. And yes, McCarthy of course carried it very, very well.

The action was also pretty decent. I didn’t know how it would end either, because they set it up pretty early that anyone could be killed, not to mention them wanting to earn the R rating.

One thing the film lacks is rewatchability, as in, I don’t ever see myself buying the film because I know I will never be in the mood again. But our female leads are fantastic, even Hart, and Statham provides some nice laughs as well.

3 out of 4.

Adult Beginners

Every few months, a new indie movie starring a few people from popular TV shows comes out and we are supposed to watch it, eventually, on our own time. Because these movies rarely hit theater and are more of a VOD type situation.

The good and bad news with these sorts of movies is that they are non consistently bad, average, or good, but all over the map so you never know what to expect. Last year we got Drinking Buddies staring that girl from House and that dude from New Girl, and it sucked. But we also got The One I Love starring that girl from Mad Men and that guy from The League, and that one rocked.

So how will Adult Beginners go? The one starring the other guy from The League and the guy from Community and the girl from 30 Rock? Well, anything goes in TV star VOD movie land!

Swimmers
“Ugh, more people from The League? I would not watch that movie.”

Jake (Nick Kroll) is going to make a shit ton of money. And with his money and your money and everyone else’s money put together, he is going to make a shit ton more and make everyone rich. And maybe even make them a little bit sexy. But then something goes wrong, right away with his company, and sure enough, he loses everyone’s money. He is now broke and useless and his friends hate him. Even Hudson (Joel McHale) hates him a bit.

So now Jake is homeless and alone, so he decides to go move in with his sister, Justine (Rose Byrne). He hasn’t seen her in a couple years because he has been “busy” so sure, it is a bit awkward. You know, cause he son is like, 2 or 3 now. And she is pregnant again! And he barely even knows her husband, Danny (Bobby Cannavale). He just knows it is a hectic time in their lives. Unfortunately, the only way they let him live with him long term is if he basically becomes their full time nanny, so they both can work and save up money for new baby and maybe a new house!

Jake of course is an irresponsible adult, and doesn’t know anything about kids. But he accepts, mostly because he has nothing else he can do at that point.

And that is about it. Jake needs to learn how to be an adult, for real. He is a beginner at being an adult. He also can’t swim. Jane Krakowski is a swimming teacher for adults and babies and dances with babies in water. It isn’t super weird, don’t worry. And Jason Mantzoukas is in here, because he is crazy and Nick Kroll’s friend.

Dinner
“I didn’t invite Jason, did you invite Jason?”
“No I didn’t invite Jason, did you invite Jason, Nick?”
“Yeah I totally did, suck it.”

Rose Byrne is becoming a relatively big name now, which is great for her. She is appearing in all the genres right now: Horror, Drama, Comedy, Action and generally being great in each one of those roles. Most surprising is comedy because it seemingly came out of nowhere with Neighbors. The problem with Adult Beginners is it is one of those classic comedies that doesn’t end up being actually funny.

Hopefully the positive buzz that has surrounded Spy is enough to make everyone ignore this movie. Ignoring it shouldn’t be an issue, because no one will really watch it when it is VOD. I just want to make sure her career is not affected by the dullness of this film.

As for everyone else? Cannavale is a likable dude, even if he always plays mostly douche-y characters, but he hasn’t had any nice break outs yet. Likewise, Kroll always plays douches, but occasionally has comedic sparks that do not go on display during this movie.

A comedy that doesn’t end up being funny, with serious moments that also aren’t too dramatic or emotional. Yep, this is a classic indie film in that regard, which most of the time would garner a 2 out of 4 or something, but they usually have one or two unique moments in them to warrant a bump. I am willing to say Adult Beginners offers nothing new and leaves me with a bored taste on my mouth.

In case you are curious, boring taste is like cardboard.

1 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.

Annie

Welcome back to Musical Week!

The realest reason for Musical Week is that this December had two musicals coming out only a week apart, which meant I only had to find 3 more. Into The Woods was yesterday, and Annie is today!

When I first heard there was an Annie remake, I was mostly indifferent. I didn’t know if we needed a new one, but hey okay. But when I heard she wouldn’t be a tap dancing ginger, but a BLACK GIRL? I was still mostly indifferent. At least there was a change for the remake so that it wasn’t just rehashed material. It would allow them to do a more modern version, not one set in the way back early times.

But then I saw the first trailer. I knew something was weird and different and off from it. And it is an unfortunate change. But one I will clickbait tactic and wait to talk about at the end of the review.

Rooftop Dance
And it isn’t just that when I do this dance, I always look like I have to take a pouty poop.

Little Orphan Annie (Quvenshane Wallis). No, wait, fuck that. She is just a foster kid, not an orphan. She has parents, she just doesn’t know who they are or when they will be back for her. She just knows that maybe, one day, she will see them on a Friday night at a local Italian restaurant eating cannolis.

But while being chased one day by some jerks, she falls in the street and almost gets run over! But thankfully, a man is there to pick her up and chastise her. That man is Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), the owner of a NYC based phone company that is hugely successful, so he is totally rich, and he is also running for mayor! He isn’t doing that great though. He is super behind. Well, footage goes out of him saving Little Foster Girl Annie on the internets, which gives him a bump up. His campaign manager (Bobby Cannavale) convinces him that if he temporarily takes Annie in and make him seem more charitable.

Annie is a free going individual who understands this is just for publicity, and she is cool with that. Getting to live in a rich house for a few weeks? Hells yeah. She doesn’t want him for a dad anyways, she wants her real parents, who will totally come eventually. Maybe tomorrow even. Or the tomorrow after that.

What could go wrong? Also featuring Rose Byrne, Cameron Diaz, David Zayas, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Stephanie Kurtzuba.

Finale
No, trust me, I counted them. Definitely 76 trombones.

Let’s talk about…pop music. Some of it is good, a lot can be bad, even more of it is catchy. That is what this version of Annie is, for the most part. Just pop music broadway. And that is my major complaint. The songs don’t feel as natural as musicals usually strive for. It didn’t have that extra bellow or personality behind the notes that made me care about the lyrics and not just nod my head to a tune. Kids in general like all kinds of music, so a different sound to all of the sounds doesn’t feel warranted.

This is the second thing I have seen Wallis in, the first being Beasts Of Southern Wild, which I kind of hated. She is fine as Annie. She really is. She has charisma and she is charming and she carries that strong independent feeling with her the whole movie.

Everyone else? Ehhh. Byrne did decent. Diaz only annoyed me.

And Foxx. Come on, Foxx. I know you can sing. I remember Gold Digger quite vividly. Was your role in that song fake? I am starting to believe it. You had passion in your lines and feeling in your voice. Every song with Jaime Foxx is terrible. His voice is ridiculously soft for most of them, so I felt like I had to strain to hear him and there is just nothing of substance behind any of them. I kind of felt he was just talking his lines. Maybe they accidentally put in the mumble take? They are just down right terrible.

But you know what bugs me the most? The finale, when they re-did Tomorrow? Despite how terrible I thought the music was in the movie and thus how bad the movie was, it still made me tear up. Just a little bit. Great lyrics can do that. Balloons help.

So who is to blame for this? Will Smith and Jay-Z. They are producers, must be their fault.

1 out of 4.

Neighbors

Finally, a movie that can relate to almost anyone. Neighbors. Hey, I have had neighbors most of my life! Some people live on farms in the middle of no where with no real neighbors. Those people aren’t the target audience for this movie though. I doubt they are anyone’s target audience really.

Also it is the first big comedy of the summer. Last year we got This Is The End as our first big movie (because I am just making shit up now and ignoring other films, like The Hangover 3. Let me make up this imaginary point, jeez), and that one set a bar too high for most other comedies to follow.

Can Neighbors do the same?

Cool Guys
Not with these squares trying to act cool. Nope nope nope.

Mac (Seth Rogen) and, Kelly (Rose Byrne) are adults! They have finally done it! They created a human from their love and they have a house!

But then they got…grr…neighbors! They thought it would be a lovely gay couple. No, it was a frat house. How’d they get a house in the middle of a residential neighborhood? Who knows. But they are stoked, because it is time to party. Their president, THE Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) and a VP of Pete (Dave Franco).

Mac and Kelly try and be cool about it all. Sure they have a baby, but as long as they are cool, the frat will probably try to keep it down. The frat is willing to be friendly with them, as long as they don’t call the cops ever, just them first.

Well, they call the cops eventually after a party that won’t end and won’t get quiet. That makes the frat angry. They decide to rage war on their neighbors, as they have messed with the wrong frat. Then shenanigans happen. Shenanigans!

We also get Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jerrod Carmichael as frat guys. And Ike Barinholtz and Carla Gallo as friends of Mac and Kelly. And Hannibal Buress as a cop! But his role is limited.

De Niros
When there are multiple De Niros, you will never know who is talking to who.

I have long talked about how great Zac Efron is in past reviews, and it is still true here, so I won’t talk about it more here. Seth Rogen is very much like his normal self, so I won’t talk about that more here.

Instead, I will talk about Rose Byrne, who was absolutely hilarious in the movie along with the rest of the cast. I realize I rarely praise the female in a comedy, but she really held her own against some of these other professionals of comedy. She doesn’t do comedy much, outside of Bridesmaids I really can’t remember anything, so it really came as a big surprise to me.

The film definitely has its moments. The one De Niro scene had me in stitches, and reminded me a bit of the seagulls in Finding Nemo.

It was a good show from an all-star-ish cast with hardly any downtime in between laughs.

3 out of 4.

Insidious: Chapter 2

Fuck.

Sorry, didn’t mean to alarm you. But I should note that now that I don’t write reviews for every theatrical movie release, I can now post some of them quicker and with less edits. Yay multiple reviews for the newspaper! So I threw in a fuck, because I don’t have to self censor myself for this review. I just type endlessly about random shit, because it really doesn’t matter when it just on this website. Quality be damned!

See, I haven’t even said the movie title yet, 85 words in. I am such a shithead.

Mouth
There is no need to be upset.

Insidious: Chapter 2 takes place immediately after Insidious. So, spoilers, yo.

Well, Elise (Lin Shaye) is dead and strangled, but by who? A ghost? Preposterous! I bet it was Josh (Patrick Wilson) back from Astral Projection, so do the cops, minus the astral part. His wife, Renai (Rose Byrne) isn’t sure what to think, but she is happy to have her child (Ty Simpkins) back.

Either way, they decide to go live with Lorraine (Barbara Hershey), Josh’s mom, after the incident. Different house, same shit.

It is almost as if the evil demon spirits are attaching themselves to a person and not the house like we learned in the first film. Hmmm.

Because Elise had to go and die on us, we are introduced to Carl (Steve Coulter), Elise’s assistant from way back when Josh was a kid. Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson still exist too, as the younger, yet also technically formerly assistants of Elise.

Insidious: Chapter 2 delves deeper into astral projecting. But also, shaky cams, possessions, abandoned creepy hospitals, and more back story than you knew was necessary. PLOT PLOT PLOT. Imagine those plot words came at you with a loud shrieking noise, like the title INSIDIOUS did in the first movie twice…and in this movie…twice as well.

Family
A lot of similarities between part 1 and 2, is all I am sayin’.

James Wan likes to make some weird movies, that is for sure. If you saw Insidious you may have found it scary, but you definitely would have also called it unique. It was doing stuff that had not been touched before, just to ensure it stood out.

Well, Chapter 2 continues with the weird, but potentially fails to deliver any real fears or tears. Seriously. I was in a packed theater opening night, and I don’t really remember the audience reacting in any way outside of laughter. Not the “I’m too cool to be scared, so I will laugh” laugh. But Chapter 2 has lots of jokes in it, and some slapstick humor, thanks to the bumbling assistants.

But no scares, which seems fundamentally flawed as a horror film.

The story itself was interesting though. Stylistically, it felt like Wan didn’t know what kind of horror film he wanted, and kept changing a few things. Like, suddenly, a wild abandoned hospital appeared. Who the fuck has one of those in their cities, just taking up space? Astral Projection of course eventually returns, and almost reminds me of the time in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey when they went to Hell and ran through their past fears. A lot of it was kind of clever, just unexpected for this movie.

Major props to Lindsay Seim who had to play “Young Elise” in this movie. Shit, she looked and seemed like Elise, my mind was freaking out about the excellent make up. Well done no name.

Overall, I’d say it is less scary than the first Insidious, and thus technically an inferior film. Other parts were better overall as the the universe was expanded. The ending was stupid though. Fuck that ending.

2 out of 4.

Insidious

I should have seen Insidious two years ago when I worked at Blockbuster. I have never been great at the horror genre, so back then I didn’t watch them. However, there was a huge lull of no horror movies coming out, so when they would ask for new good horror, I basically had to recommend Insidious for two months.

That’s right. I was recommending a movie without seeing it. For shame. Which is why I had to watch it now to redeem myself, but also because of the sequel coming out in a few weeks, shockingly named, Insidious: Chapter 2.

Gas
I don’t even know man. I don’t even know.

The Lambert family has recently moved into a new home, as is the usual for a haunted house movie.

Josh (Patrick Wilson) is a teacher, and Renai (Rose Byrne) is…not a teacher. I guess she is a house wife. They have three boys, and one of them, Dalton (Ty Simpkins), likes to pretend his a super hero who can fly. Silly Dalton. I know him as that annoying kid added to Iron Man 3 because Disney.

Well, he plays in the attic, falls, hits his head, and goes into a coma. A coma that no one can really explain either. Oh well.

Three months later, shit is rough. No sign of Dalton awakening, and their marriage is getting rough. Josh spends more and more time at work, and his wife is freaking out at home. She is starting to see people where there are none. Hear voices over the baby monitor. Shit like that. Her mom is freaking out too. They think they are haunted.

So they get Elise (Lin Shaye) a family friend to investigate the house, since she works with the paranormal. Elise and her lackies (Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson). They agree. Shit is fucked up in this house.

But that isn’t the worse part. The eerie behavior might not even be attached to the house at all. It might be attached to several family members.

Whoaoaoao
Oh a nice image of a bed room that is p- OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT THING OVER THERE?

The first half of Insidious is your standard haunted house movie. Things go bump in the night, demons and spirits appear, noises abound, and people freak out.

Then it gets a bit weird.

Like. A lot. Really really really weird.

So weird I didn’t want to expand upon it in the plot outline. It is just incredibly different, which is a good thing. They are starting to think outside of the box and try new things. So it gets all sort of looney and I like that.

What I thought was weaker was the scares. I think this movie was applauded for the lack of jump scares in it, but at the same time, they use loud crashes and piano cords several times, which are just jump scares in noise form. It does benefit from being scary without a big loss of life, or blood, or gore.

I also feel as if the acting was a bit poor from our lead two actors. I haven’t seen Rose in much, but I have seen Patrick in a lot, and I know he could do better. The ending is also a bit strange, but given that we know there is a sequel, I guess it will continue right from where we left off.

Maybe.

TL;DR – Weird unique horror movie. Okayish.

2 out of 4.

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