Logan Lucky

Steven Soderbergh is a sunuvabitch. And I mean that in a loving way. After finishing strong with Side Effects and Behind The Candelabra, he said he was retiring from directing, and the world was sad. Sure, he gave us some of The Knick, but it wasn’t the same.

And then I saw a trailer for Logan Lucky. Soderbergh. Was. Back. He didn’t last long in retirement, a project pulled him out, described as a sort of redneck Ocean’s Eleven.

I didn’t need to see the trailer multiple times. I didn’t have to look at the cast list with glee. They just had to tell me that SS was at the helm and I knew I would not be missing that film.

Speedway
Also, add in one of the greatest known actors to man, then you are just asking for Oscars.

In West Virginia, part of the Blue Ridge mountains, with the Shenandoah River, bunch of country roads that are basically heaven for the inhabitants, live the Logans. A family that some individuals think are cursed or unlucky. There is Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), the one who was going to be a big football star, but got a leg injury leaving him with a limp before he could make it big. He also was fired recently as a construction worker in NC, so there is that. His brother is Clyde Logan (Adam Driver), soft spoken, ended up going to the Army after his brother’s accident, and in Iraq, he lost his hand and part of an arm. Now he is a bartender. Their extended family has some issues too, but their younger sister, Mellie Logan (Riley Keough), has been relatively unfazed and is a hairdresser.

Anyways, Jimmy has a family. Notably, a daughter, (Farrah Mackenzie) and an ex-wife (Katie Holmes), and he just wants to do right by them. But getting fired, not being rich, these are big problems. So he has had it. He wants to steal from a vault. He needs a giant payday, and from his construction, he knows how the money is moved at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. He has a big plan and everything to get the money and out without people knowing about it. Heck, he is even going to pick a small weekend where there is little security and not a big monetary loss to the company. They aren’t bad people, they are just…unlucky and in hard times.

They just need some help. And they want to enlist Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), a man from that area who is knowledgeable about getting into vaults. But he is also in jail. So they need to break him out, do a heist, and break him back into jail without knowing he was gone. Ah yes, good times.

And rednecks. Good times with rednecks.

Also starring Seth MacFarlane, Sebastian Stan, Brian Gleeson, David Denman, Jack Quaid, Jim O’Heir, Katherine Waterston, Hilary Swank, and Dwight Yoakam as the warden.

Incarcareted
No touching!

This film was very hard for me to review. Days later it still has resonated with me, one touching scene in particular. It has brought me closer to John Denver more so than any other film before it. You know how these movies work. Have a dad, have a relationship with his daughter, have touching moments, and you will have me there in the theater crying.

I love the cast. I love how into the characters everyone was, no matter how big or small. I loved how everyone played it straight. They weren’t mocking southerners, they were embracing the culture. Sure it was amusing, but it was still handled with a lot of class. They were just people trying to do something for their families and not trying to hurt anyone along the way. They were good people in somewhat extreme circumstances. And everyone was just so good at their roles. Even the people who were dicks.

Before I forget, this film also featured the BEST Game of Thrones reference ever in a film. It was something that made me cackle with glee. To be honest, the list of “films with Game of Thrones references” is probably pretty short, but no way could anything before have topped this one.

BUT YET THERE IS SOMETHING THAT IS HARD TO DESCRIBE. There are slower moments. There are things rushed. There is confusion at just how far away they live from Charlotte. I have to assume like 3-4 hours, which makes the timing of this film a bit awkward and harder to grasp. The later reveals of heist didn’t feel as extravagant as I had hoped. And the ending just sort of ending.

It isn’t the perfect film that my mind has made it out to be. I still can love it, I can accept its faults, but that makes me put an honest rating. You know, a brain rating and not just a rating in my heart.

If my heart was rating this film, it would maybe be a 5 out of 4.

3 out of 4.

Sing

Sing is the last animated film I need to review that is a major US release!

I will be honest that I wasn’t really looking forward to Sing at all. It is the fourth anthropomorphic animals major release this YEAR (After Kung Fu Panda 3, Zootopia, and The Angry Birds Movie), in a year where we also had regular talking animal movies as well (Finding Dory, Storks, Ice Age: Collision Course, Norm of the North, The Secret Life of Pets). Fuck.

Basically everything is about talking animals this year. Moana and Kubo and the Two Strings aren’t fully about that, and that might be why they are my favorite two of the year. The only really big animated films I can think of are Trolls (talking magic things) and Sausage Party (talking food). 2016 wasn’t the most creative film year, and it is sort of a huge let down for animated films.

Oh but wait! This isn’t a talking animal movie! This is a singing animal movie. With a lot of popular songs being sung by animals, reminding me of recent very bad animated jukebox musicals. Please be better to me 2017.

Disappointment
The face you make when your realize Cars 3 is coming out in 2017.

Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) is a koala bear who fell in love with the theater as a kid. With the help of his father, he earned enough money to buy the theater and produce shows for hundreds more to fall in love with! But now, years later, he is far in the red, unable to pay his crew, or the bills, or his loans. He is friends with Eddie (John C. Reilly), a lamb son of a rich family, but even they won’t bail him out now.

But he has an idea! Singing competitions are all the rage, so he wants to host a local one, only featuring regular people that they all know and want to show off their talents. He will give the winner a $1,000 prize and hopefully get enough money to get back in the black. But his assistant (Garth Jennings) accidentally puts a $100,000 prize, putting the whole town into a frenzy and driving up expectations through the roof.

And our contestants are of course all over the map. There is Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), a stay at home pig mom of 25 kids with a husband who is overworked. Johnny (Taron Egerton), a gorilla from a crime family who doesn’t really want to steal. Meena (Tori Kelly), a young elephant who has extreme stage fright. Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a old timey street musician mouse who just wants money and fame. Ash (Scarlett Johansson) and Lance (Beck Bennett), a hedgehog teenage rock duo, but Lance doesn’t want to share the singing spotlight. And of course Gunter (Nick Kroll), a German pig who has no fears when it comes to his body.

Who will win? Who will get screwed over? Who will die?!

Also featuring the voices of Nick Offerman, Peter Serafinowicz, and Rhea Perlman.

Pigs
Pigs are people too, and are tired of being dance shamed.

Sing is the type of film that will give you exactly what you expect. Animals, being human like, and singing pop songs. And if that is all you need to go on to enjoy a film, then you will be in for a treat. If you want something with a bit of more substance to its plot, you will be saddened and only a little bit toe-tappy.

The lessons of the film tell us to follow our dreams, no matter how many bills you wrack up, loved ones you hurt, and lives you ruin. It will all hopefully work out in the end.

McConaughey’s character seems to be a sort of more family friendly and desperate version of his character in Magic Mike. MacFarlane plays a rat who is so annoying right off the bat that I have no remorse for his character at any point in the movie. On top of that, they never resolve that characters plot line at the end. I assumed it would be an after credits scene but we were left with nothing.

Johansson as a hedgehog, Witherspoon as a pig, and Egerton as a gorilla all worked (but it took me awhile to accept the last one, because the gorilla look and clothing just felt off). I was most surprised by Egerton’s singing voice, but it isn’t the first time he impressed me this year.

Music wise, it didn’t seem to click or work until the end. And it damn well better by that point, when they put on their show and resolve all of their issues through the power of singing in public. Everyone feels like a winner. At the same time, I wonder what the entire purpose of the film was. A small story, no real steaks or issues to worry about, Sing becomes an easy movie to make on account of how easy it can merchandise.

A few of the trailers really gave away most of the bigger moments. I am most annoyed by the teaser trailer though, that decided to showcase a ton of different animals singing different songs. That is basically directly out of the film, with little editing and no more substance. We only get to see a lot of diversity for a little amount of time. And the worst part about that scene, the try outs, is they didn’t even try to make it seem realistic by having different people sing the songs. Instead it was jut playing the actual songs over their quick and quirky cast. What a let down.

If you give me an animal singing song, I want a unique voice singing that song, damn it. If I wanted to actually hear the song, I could always just use the internet myself. No amount of scantly dressed rabbit will make up for it.

2 out of 4.

Ted 2

Seth MacFarlane is not my favorite person. And I didn’t even think his Oscars were that bad. I just think his movies have been pretty sub par as of late. In A Million Ways To Die In The West basically every joke fell flat for me.

And then of course there was Ted. Sure, there was some amusing original material in there. But as I watched it (in theaters), I couldn’t believe how date it had already felt. The humor was almost 100% focused on current pop culture trends. They had a few 80’s pop culture jokes thrown in to balance it out, but it was way too current. I knew most of the things I found amusing I wouldn’t bat an eye at in five or six years anymore.

Needless to say, I was pretty dang worried about Ted 2. Would it just be more of the same of Ted? Yeah probably. I don’t need 90 minutes of shitty pop culture in my life.

Brady Cock
But if it was entirely about stealing Tom Brady‘s semen, then we might have something here.

Ted 2 takes place some time after the original. The main difference is that John (Mark Wahlberg) is divorced, probably because Mila Kunis didn’t want to be in another of these movies. Now he is basically afraid of commitment to anyone. Ted (MacFarlane) is still married to Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), but their relationship is strained. They might even get a divorce. So they decide to do the time honored tradition of having a kid to save their marriage.

Ted has no penis, so sex wouldn’t work. They work on sperm donations, but that fails too. So they decide to adopt. But the problem is, Ted cannot do it because apparently he isn’t classified as a person and doesn’t have person rights. This changes everything for Ted. Now he loses his job, his marriage is now nulled and can’t legally do most things! He is just an object! Oh no!

So, in a nut shell, that is the point of this film. He wants to fight the ruling in court, so he can get his life back. That is why they have a lawyer (Amanda Seyfried) who is chill and likes to smoke pot, hooray! At the same time, Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) is helping Hasbro fight Ted in court. If it is ruled he is an object, they can take him back, find out what makes him magical, and make Ted’s for everyone around the world. Weeeee.

Also! Morgan Freeman, Sam J. Jones, Patrick Warburton, John Slattery, and John Carroll Lynch.

Hang out

The good news is that Ted 2 relied on less pop culture references to get by this time. Outside of quite a few recent Patriots references.

The bad is that the plot is kind of shit and not worth watching. Let me clarify, the plot idea isn’t a bad one. It could make a good court room comedy film. But they only vaguely focus on that. There are barely any scenes in the court room, really only two major ones at the beginning and end. The first court room scene only takes a handful of minutes, but the film would rather Ted and John just sit on a couch and tell jokes.

Ted 2 as a result just doesn’t have a lot to offer as a film. In recollection, I am having a hard time trying to remember any moment I found really funny. I was completely chuckleless. The writer only had a rough idea for the plot and maybe a couple jokes, but I assume the majority of these scenes were thought of independently of having a real place to put them. So in a way, Ted 2 was a lot like a Family Guy episode.

There isn’t a lot to say. Ted 2 just isn’t good. Not as bad as AMWTDITW, but not as good as its mediocre first film.

1 out of 4.

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

A Million Ways To Die In The West

Hey boys and girls! Did you like Ted? Well, then you might like the next movie, A Million Ways To Die In The West!

That is what advertisements told me at least. But I only thought Ted was okay. Was entirely pop culture based humor, so it was a movie that won’t be as amusing in a few years because nothing will be relevant. Although it had a decent plot and Marky Mark, so that is fun.

But now we are going out west, back in time, and director Seth MacFarlane is actually going to star in it. Hopefully it is more than just a few dude’s hangin’ out.

Hangin' Out
Damn it, this looks like two dudes just hangin’ out!

Set in the 1800’s in Arizona, near Monument Valley (like every other western), lives our hero Albert (MacFarlane), a sheep farmer and a pussy. He doesn’t like to shoot a gun, because he never has, and thus he is bad at it. But somehow he keeps getting himself into shoot outs.

Albert starts to hate himself after his long term girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seyfried) dumps him. Now he hates life. He also is a cynic, pointing out all the things that can kill him in the west. Thus the movie title. He does all this until Anna (Charlize Theron) walks into his life. Just kidding, he continues his moping ways, but now there is this mysterious woman who can shoot better than any he knows. Maybe she can change his life and stop him from getting into gun fights.

Just kidding. He does some stuff, getting him into fights with Foy (Neil Patrick Harris), the owner of the Mustacherie, and Clinch (Liam Neeson), an outlaw and the fastest hands in the West. Oh Albert, you are so silly.

Also starring Giovanni Ribisi, as his best friend, dating a whore Sarah Silverman.

Showdown
“Huh? Why would Neil Patrick Harris every run a mustache store?” – GorgView Hate Commenter

I think I would rather watch Ted in four years than see A Million Ways To Die In The West.

The humor is very Seth MacFarlane, I will give it that. You can go in expecting that, and if you enjoy that enough, you will maybe have a good time. Maybe.

To me, this comedy had huge stretches of time without a joke. Trying to maintain some western tropes, there were scenes of traveling and just looking at the scenery. But that wasn’t the downtime. Literally just long periods of the movie moving on without very many jokes. It doesn’t help that quite a few of the jokes were in the trailer, most of which giving the entire set up and punchline so none of it was left to surprise. I am most disappointed in even the TV ads giving away one 1980’s related scene, which would have been amazing if kept secret.

Not that surprise is needed for comedies, no. A good comedy can keep you laughing through many viewings. The humor that was present just for the most part wasn’t for me.

There were some okay moments. I really liked the mustache song. Sarah Silverman ended up making me chuckle on more than one occasion. So I guess I thought the small side plot was more amusing than most of the film. That happens some times.

TL;DR, for the most part, A Million Ways To Die In The West just felt like 2 hours of boredom, with an occasional chuckle. Having the main character be a relatively modern man felt a bit half-assed. And I didn’t even get into how much of a unlikable character he was. Mr. Mopey. Ever have a friend who complains about everything, as if the experiences are unique to them? Yeah…

1 out of 4.

Ted

Ted kind of came out of no where for me. I think I first heard about it a whole week before it came out to theaters. Weird huh? And honestly, it seemed like a kick ass idea. I was also willing to ignore the fact that it was a Seth MacFarlane movie, creator of Family Guy and most of the Fox Cartoons, and that the bear sounded identically to Peter Griffin.

Hump
Take it you dirty dirty register.

Young John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) had no friends as a kid growing up in Boston. But when he got a teddy bear, he was finally social. With a stuffed animal. But when he wished for him to be alive, his wish came true and he had a new BFF for ever and ever and ever. Ted (MacFarlane) got super famous initially, but then no one cared, and he was just a talking stuffed animal who grew up to be a nice slacker, like John, at 35 years old.

But hey, he has a girlfriend of four years, Lori (Mila Kunis), who really wants him to be something better than an Enterprise car worker. She kind of blames Ted for him still acting so childish, kind of wants him to move out. But if he does, can he actually grow up, or will he still just hang out with his buddy and get high all the time?

While their rocky relationship is going on, Lori also has to deal with her creepy boss (Joel McHale) who keeps hitting on her and Ted has to worry about a grown man (Giovanni Ribisi) who has been a fan of Ted for a long time and really wants to acquire him for his son, and his first long term white trash girlfriend Tammy-Lynn (Jessica Barth). John just has to deal with them.

Holy shit that plot is really simple. We also have Patrick Stewart as Narrator, and Norah Jones and Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon) as themselves.

Nose
HOLY FUCK STAY AWAY FROM MARKY MARKS NOSE, YOU MIGHT GET SUCKED IN AND NEVER RETURN.

So this movie did make me laugh a bunch. Sometimes. Occasionally. Mostly through crude and drunk jokes though. As someone who considers themself a pop culture junkie (not Taratino levels or anything), I found a lot of their pop culture jokes falling flat. I mean, most of the current ones don’t have staying power. In the first 5 minutes there was a Justin Bieber and some other people joke. It didn’t feel forced or anything, the joke just felt really lazy. A lot of them were on par with the “Still a better love story than Twilight” joke, which is not only over used, but never really funny. Just people hating to hate.

So that was my biggest problem with the comedy. Similarly there was maybe a bit too much drama, and a bit too much of Marky Mark being a complete dumb ass. I don’t know if I will care about movie at all in a year. I did love the concept, of a talking bear who grew up and became a dick, but just felt like the writers didn’t try enough after that initial concept. Oh well. Moving on.

2 out of 4.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hellboy II: The Golden Army made one of the worst mistakes ever. The worst being releasing your movie the same date as The Dark Knight.

So instead it id the second or third worst mistake ever. It released in theaters the week before The Dark Knight. Sure, all the fanboys would go to see both. But people who only watch once a month, or random viewers who had to choose between two “comic book movies” meant Hellboy II would lose every time.

This is a shame, because Hellboy II ended up being better than Hellboy in every way. (If I had to review Hellboy, I’d probably give it a 2 out of 4. Interesting, but not my favorite. Cool concept, falls short.)

Hellboy II
That outfit? All make up, no CGI. What!?

Hellboy (Ron Perlman) is up to his same antics. He hates being locked away, wants to be free. Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), who can ignite herself and other objects on fire, is now his “girlfriend”, but they are fighting as they live together. Why? Because she is pregnant (awkward). It is causing things in the B.P.R.D. to be quite a mess. Abe (Doug Jones), the fish man and Tom (Jeffrey Tambor), the director, are worried the antics will cost them jobs.

Well Prince Nuada (Luke Goss), an ancient elf is pissed off. He wants to return to the surface world, reignite the golden army of indestructible robots, and kill all humans. His race disagrees, so he kills a bunch of them. Not his twin sister, Princess Nuala (Anna Walton) though, because if one of them gets hurt, so does the other. So he causes problems and Hellboy uses this opportunity to join the world!

This causes a new director to come in, Johann Krauss (Voiced by Seth MacFarlane), an old being who is now all gaseous and shit. And German. Now they have to run things by the book, and figure out how to find out whats going on with the elves.

More fights happen, unexpected love between fish and elf, giant plant beasts, close deaths, certain destruction, and golden armies.

abe hellboy
And probably the best version of “Can’t Smile Without You” of all time!

As expected, I loved this movie. As I said, the action is better, the story is better (general rule in the sequel, since you don’t have to waste as much time with origins), it is funnier, and introduces great new characters.

It might be closer to the comics too, but I still haven’t read them. I am anxiously waiting an ending to the saga with a Hellboy III. It might be a few years from now, but they keep claiming he will eventually destroy the world, as that is why he was summoned in the first place, so that shit needs to almost happen.

Oh yeah, and I am pretty sure Hellboy is how Ron Perlman normally looks, and every other time is him in make up.

4 out of 4.