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.

Hunt For The Wilderpeople

Taika Waititi is a rising star in the director world, and not just because of his four i’s. No one saw Eagle vs Shark, but I did, and I loved it. Waititi is a New Zealander and he loves his New Zealand based cinema. NO, NOT LORD OF THE RINGS. But you know, he directed some Flight of the Conchords episodes. But more importantly he directed one of the better comedies last year, What We Do In The Shadows.

What We Do In The Shadows was so good and people were so impressed with Waititi, they gave Waititi a marvel movie and he is going to be directing Thor: Ragnarok. Big step up indeed.

But before we get to any of this, we have another New Zealand based film of course. Hunt For The Wilderpeople, a title with a lot of story behind it and a mostly local cast with a lot of local heart.

Gangsta
And a star who is clearly gangster as fuck.

Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) is getting into his teenage years but has had a rough life. No more parents, he has been in the foster system. He has gotten himself into some bad stuff. Like kicking stuff, burning stuff, graffiti and more. Basically gangster as fuck, which I already said.

So he is sent to his last chance home. A nice farm on the edge of civilization. The woman there, whom he has to call Aunt Bella (Rima Te Wiata). She knows he needs just something to do and learn and work on to get back on the right path. She is married to Uncle Hec (Sam Neill), who is much more a loaner and really only cares about his dog.

Things actually go pretty okay. Life is decent, Ricky is finding a purpose and isn’t a complete shit head. Then bad things happen. Things that threaten his removal from the house. So he decides to fake his own death and run away. Screw it, he will live in the wilderness by himself. He can shoot a gun now, he has a dog. He’s got this.

Well, it is up to Uncle Hec to go and find him. However, once he does he gets hurt. They end up being in the wilderness so long that people now think he was kidnapped and a bad type of man. Ricky himself is afraid of going back because he thinks he will have to go to Juvie! So somehow they both find themselves running from the law, living in the woods, making a real good time of it all. All while the head CPS lady (Rachel House) is on their tale.

Also featuring Oscar Kightley as a cop, Troy Kingi and Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne as a few natives, and Rhys Darby as Psycho Sam.

Chillll
You can find a whole lot in the woods. But mostly, you’ll find yourself.

Being my third Waititi, I have come to expect a certain sort of humor and this film is of course full of it. It is weird, it is unique, but it is also raw and real.

I don’t know a damn thing about living in New Zealand. But I do know the basic differences between “city folk” and “country folk” and that is really the most important thing to understand this movie. Will you get each and every joke? Hell no (unless you are really knowledgeable about New Zealand, I guess). But the themes are practically universal.

And this film truly is an adventure. The beginning is a bit slower when we are getting used to the characters, but once they hit the woods, are traveling, talking, running from the po-po, meeting unique individuals and situations. That is where it is fun. That is where the film starts to run with it.

I wouldn’t say the soundtrack is the same level of Sing Street or Swiss Army Man, but it is still really well picked and placed, highlighting the film to greater levels.

Dennison has a potentially great career in comedic films if he keeps it up, he felt like a natural. Neill? I didn’t even recognize Neill. I saw his name in the intro credits and assumed I just missed him. I didn’t really realize until looking at IMDB way later. He was super into his role as well and quite a damn surprise. House was also really nice surprise, with her motto of “No Child Left Behind” when it comes to CPS. A good motto and made her a weird antagonist.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is amazing. It is realistic, strange, and I think we all have a little bit of Ricky in all of us.

4 out of 4.

United Passions

There comes a time, when we heed a certain call. When some countries, must come united as one. That is basically the intro to We Are The World, and I am stealing it. But it is okay because I said so right now.

United Passions is about bringing people together, who share a passion, and uniting them under one. A federation of like minded individuals. One that is international. One where people are proud to associate with each other. One where people can talk about Football.

That’s right. FIFA. United Passions is about the founding and history of the organization that brings us the World Cup every four years and is totally fine with people dying in Qatar so the world cup can be there in 2020. They had quite a bit of controversy this year, with charges being put on many members, accepting bribes and kickbacks from announcers and and sports marketing organizations. This had led to situations like, I don’t know, Qatar having a world cup, and a shit ton of revenue going into these people’s hands.

So the fact that they also have a movie coming out to show how great they are is both terrible timing, and also just pathetic in the strongest sense of the word.

Emmy
Despite the number of trophies awarded in this film, this film will be awarded no trophies.

This is the part of a review where generally I do a rough plot outline or synopsis to let you know what the movie is about. But you know what it is about. It is about the founding of FIFA, how it started, and things that happened in its history after the fact. As John Oliver put it, it is a sports movie about the executives, not the sports stars.

And I can’t be too detailed, because after about 10 minutes I realized how much of a piece of propaganda junk this was, and my brain started to shut off. So here are the bare essentials. Gérard Depardieu plays Jules Rimet, one of the original founders who had to convince everyone this was a good idea. He also might have been their first president? He really wanted Africans and South American’s to be treated with respect and have an equal chance of winning.

Sam Neill is Joao Havelange, who helps FIFA get bigger or something. Also eventually corruption. He is replaced by Sepp Blatter, played by Tim Roth, who totally gets the corruption out of the game. Totally. Also in real life not movie land, Blatter is one of the biggest components in the corruption scandal.

Also featuring Jemima West, Thomas Kretschmann, and Fisher Stevens.

Ball
And now the ball is in our court, viewers and soccer fans.

So I am taking these claims from Wikipedia, but I am sure they are sourced correctly. About the corruption and the film ignoring FIFA’s current reality and the decades of rumors:

Roth has said that he asked the filmmakers: “Where’s all the corruption in the script? Where is all the back-stabbing, the deals?” He said he attempted to convey these elements through his performance, saying: “It was a tough one. I tried to slide in a sense of it, as much as I could get in there.”[9] The film’s director, Frédéric Auburtin, claimed he inserted “ironic parts” into the film.

But after watching the film, all of this is hard to believe. There are no obvious winks at the camera or anything, so if anything was subtle, it was extremely subtle. Instead the film plays out like a dreamy Hallmark film. Sure there is some adversary. Like racism! They have to overcome racism! And uhh, some minor corruption. But they get through it and the good guys win and sportsmanship!

Basically everything about this movie is dreadful. I could only look at the clock waiting for it to end. They had some sports, but soccer itself wasn’t the focus so it was all terribly done. There was one point where it was a championship game of Brazil vs Uruguay, I think in Brazil. It would be their first win and the whole country was watching! But it was like an incredibly awkward montage. It kept fading out to black then fast forwarding to a later part of the game, with the narration all being from an announcer of the game. Add in shots of people looking anxious in the stands and listening on the radio. Except it faded at least 5-6 times and it was just so terrible.

Thankfully the tone didn’t go all over the place. It was consistently cheesy and shit. Everyone who watches this film will be united in their passions of “lack of interest” towards a second viewing.

0 out of 4.

Escape Plan

Arnold Schwarzenegger must be living a good life. Look at how he has aged, fantastically. He is a fit guy, he was Governor (of a now failing state), and now he has all this free time for chilling, making movies, and spending loads of cash.

Because of that, I have decided to talk about Escape Plan from the point of view of Arnold, not the actual main guy in the movie. That’s right. Fuck the police.

Beard
I am mostly doing this because I love his beard in this movie.

Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is current locked up in a beyond illegal prison somewhere in the world. He really doesn’t know. But the prison is not your standard prison. They live in glass boxes, and they are suspended along stair cases, not in a normal rows and columns. There are a plethora of armed guards, who all wear masks so that they are not identifiable. Their isolation rooms are tiny boxes with bright hot lights, not dark rooms like the normal. No, just a little bit in that room will teach you to fuck around again.

But then, this Porthos (Sylvester Stallone) character comes waltzing into his prison. He notices him instantly, always looking at the guards, inspecting shit. Rottmayer considers himself a favor guy, so he offers to help Porthos out, see why he is being weird. According to Porthos, he gets paid to get put into prisons, look for weaknesses, and break out of them. But something is wrong this time, all of his normal criteria is off, things have changed, his evacuation code isn’t working. Someone has set him up to fail and get locked away for ever.

Looks like these two masterminds, one a criminal, the other not, have to work together to beat the system. But can they really trust each other?

Jim Caviezal plays the warden, and you may remember him as Jesus from The Passion of the Christ. Amy Ryan, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and Vincent D’Onofrio play members of Stallone’s team (member, tech guy, accountant, respectively), Sam Neill plays another doctor, Vinnie Jones is head of security, and Faran Tahir as another prisoner.

Talk
Note the bar code on their shirts. They…really didn’t explain any of that.

Wait, 50 Cent?! Yesss, another movie where I have him in it. This one was purely an accident! Note to self, review more 50 Cent movies. He should be the highest tagged actor on this site, damn it.

Sorry, I keep getting distracted by the actors in this movie.

Well, strangely enough, I had fun with this movie. It wasn’t meant as a comedy, but having Stallone/Schwarzenegger in a situation where we have to assume they are smart comes with a few laughs. Especially when they both deliver their normally cheesy lines. The difference between the two is that in this film, Stallone says it all with a serious face, like he is the BAMFest BAMF, while Arnold is willing to grin more with his character and enjoy the moment.

I am saying Arnold was the better of this two in the film. His distraction scene in German in the film is almost worth it for the chaos it produced alone.

In terms of twists, some of them are obvious, and I think the film even makes fun of how obvious they are, but not everything is obvious. This is more of a thriller action movie, with most of the violence comes near the end when they actually attempt their escape. Accidentally hilarious moments like sudden waves of armed guards, more than should be at the prison, getting mowed down with a machine gun make this movie worked.

I am not sure if I really liked this movie, or if I just liked it more than Carrie and The Fifth Estate, which also came out this weekend. Even if that is the case, fuck it, it was more enjoyable than Stallone’s recent work.

3 out of 4.

The Hunter

The Hunter came out almost a year ago, last July. I am pretty sure I got it sometime around then too. Whoops. One of those random gains that you forget about for apparently 10 or so months.

Let’s make this a metaphor about life. I just won’t explain that metaphor, to complete this very bad intro to a review.

Bar Fight
Hopefully shitty enough to cause a bar fight. Or sexy enough. Shit, what causes bar fights again?

Red Leaf is a military biotech company. Yeah, didn’t you know that those were a thing? Because they totally are! Military. Biotech. Some sort of crazy weapon based thing. Well, they have reports that the Tasmanian Tiger has been spotted recently in Tasmania. Makes sense. Unless you realize that that they have been extinct since 1963! Oh hooray, a breakthrough for the species! Maybe they can breed them back to a populated state!

Wait. Hmm. Red Leaf isn’t a fan of that. In fact, they hire The Hunter (Willem Dafoe) to head to Tasmania, capture the tiger, extract its DNA and kill any other tigers he is able to find. Holy shit, that’s the opposite of saving them! It turns out they might have some paralyzing venom in their bite, and they want to weaponize the fuck out of it, charming. They also want no one else to get a hold of it. Evil!

He heads to Tasmania, pretending to be a Biology researcher, and stays at a local cabin. Lucy (Frances O’Connor) is drugged up on pain meds, despite having two children. Her husband died, he was a wildlife protection guy. Hah.

Either way, The Hunter goes into the wild 12 days at a time, setting traps, looking for the Tiger and then returns to the cabin. He begins to like the kids, fix their home life, and even the mom. They almost make a quaint little family. At the same time he has to deal with local battles between the environmentalists and the loggers, who get violent over each other.

Will the Hunter find the tiger and carry out the deed? Or will he give in to the pressures of other groups. After all, if he refuses, they will probably just keep sending people to do the job until it gets done. Sam Neill is also in this movie as random helpful neighbor guy/guide.

Alone
Ah, they got a picture of everyone who saw The Hunter on opening night.

The cool thing about The Hunter is that if you watch it, you are treated to some kick ass Tasmanian scenery. It is filmed entirely in the country, so it gives it some layers of authenticity. There are also people there who claim to see the Tigers, but have no real substantial proof, so it is based on local legends. If you like Willem Dafoe, you get a lot of him in the movie. Not shirtless or anything. Just it is mostly him being a bad ass (or pseudo badass).

However, the movie does move pretty slow. On top of that, even though the ending was unexpected, I didn’t like what it gave me. It all seemed completely out of left field, and probably not the best course of action to end it. They had the balls to end it that way, but I didn’t find the character change to be believable.

You know what that means? Average! Hooray. I’m bored.

2 out of 4.

Daybreakers

Daybreakers took me awhile to watch mostly because I assumed it was supposed to be some sort of horror film. There is no elements of that though, just straight up action.

Action, with some science talk and lots of vampires.

Crwznboz
It also has crossbows. You know. Because bullets “don’t hurt”.

Ethan Hawke is a vampire! But most people are. The world is mostly vampire, and they can all think still. No worries. But, there are less and less humans out there. And they are running out of blood. He works for a company that extracts blood, and has blood farms in order to help sustain the population, but if they don’t solve their issue, they will run out within a month. He is a farmer, while his brother, Michael Dorman, is a hunter who goes out to collect humans.

He also doesn’t drink human blood. Guess he feels guilty. Well accidentally he finds a group of humans, including Claudia Karvan, and protects them from being caught. Somehow they trust him, and he is a scientist, so they bring him back to their hide out. BUT WHY. There he finds a really weird looking Willem Dafoe…with bite marks! Yet he is in the sunlight. Heck, he is a human again. Somehow he found a cure.

So now that he is on the run anyways, he works on developing a cure for vampirism. Hopefully no one finds out, and tries to use this knowledge to solve the blood shortage by turning prisoners into humans. Like his boss, Sam Neill. Or his scientist buddy, Vince Colosimo.

I don’t know how to insert Isabel Lucas into the plot summary but she is a human too, and a rather important one.

vampire
Also, some weird ass shit is going on here.

I can’t help but think that a lot of this is supposed to mirror oil and energy. But if it is…what? It sounds like it is supposed too, but in the metaphor of the vampire world, the solution to the oil crisis seems to be forgo technology and go back to the way we used to be before oil. Aka return to being humans. Which is a stupid solution to energy use.

Doesn’t help that “use less” energy/blood and “find alternative solutions” to energy/blood have already been explored by these vampires, and it looks like they are fucked. Are they saying our world is fucked, and nothing will work except for a trip back to the 19th century?

I don’t know at all. Bad parallels. Bad acting. Weird cure and then additional way to cure at the very end. Not at all sensical.

1 out of 4.

The Vow

Why the hell is Channing Tatum in so many Romance based movies?

A guy who’s face that screams out “Big dumb strong man” doesn’t seem to be romance movie material. Or at least once every awhile. But damn. I feel like that is 2/3 of his movies.

In The Vow, not only is he the main male lead, he is kind of the only romantic character in the movie. So weird.

Tatumm
You can tell, because there are no pictures of anyone else out in the rain.

The movie begins with Tatum and Rachel McAdams, driving at night with lots of snow. Aw, they are married. How sweet. Rachel has to leave, so she unbuckles, but before getting out of that car, she gets her kiss on. And then a truck slams into the back of their car, and she goes out the window.

What the heck!

Yeah it sucks. Then she gets into a coma, and well, some amnesia happens. She forgets the last few years of her life, but not everything. Definitely everything involving her husband. What does she remember?

Going to law school, being close to her parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange), and being engaged to someone else. What?! Her old fiance, Scott Speedman, whom she left to move to the city and find her own way.

Tatum has a hard enough time providing evidence that she ever even loved him (in the form of a voice mail and their wedding video (and their vows!)). He is all weird and different, and she doesn’t like the idea of living with a stranger. She also finds it odd that he doesn’t seem to know her family well. What if he is just an intense stalker and going to kill her?

What she doesn’t know is why she ever left her home, her rich life style, law school, and fiance, to move to the city, become a sculptor, and you know, fall in love with Tatum and stuff. None of her family feel like bringing it up either, not even her sister , Jessica McNamee, who is also about to get married.

Will she ever remember her past? Or will she be all, whatever.

The vow
There is an amnesia clause in vows, right?

So, somehow this ended up being a decent romance movie. I’d imagine losing someone you loved (and who loved you back) would suck, especially if it was via amnesia. Especially if she used to be an entirely different person, who also was kind of a bitch. Understandably, at least. No one likes not knowing anyone around them.

This is based off of a real couple, and even given a factoid based off what happened at the end. The ending to the movie? Well, I thought it was kind of a let down. I guess they wanted to go away from a more obvious turn of events so we wouldn’t guess what happens. But still. Eh.

But the beginning, starting with the accident, and flash backs to when they met and their marriage? That was all very cute. But Tatum’s character is a total dumbass, who does a few things that are quite horrible in the movie, and that was also annoying to watch.

And then again? Some other things were not. Sooo….Yeah.

2 out of 4.