The Clapper

Ed Helms is still getting lead work, despite mixed reviews for his acting in most movies. He is leading big films, and he is leading films you never heard about before.

Films like The Clapper. Have you heard about it? Of course not. It came out some time in 2017, probably straight to DVD, and I found it accidentally on Netflix.

So sure, I like enough of the cast, and I like the concept, it is a good enough movie to review as any.

Date
And it features…clapping I assume.

Getting into acting can be pretty damn hard. But moving to LA is a good first step. And then you might be a waiter or have small time jobs until you get a commercial. Maybe you will be a non speaking role in the background?

Or maybe you will be like Eddie Krumble (Ed Helms), and get a job as an audience member for infomercials. He has gotten to be pretty good. He can laugh on command. He can seem intrigued. He even has had speaking roles. His overall goal is to be very nondescript, so that he doesn’t get noticed across infomercials and their real studio audience feel is seen as a scam.

And of course that is just what happens. A late night talk show host (Russell Peters) is doing a bit on a bad infomercial, and they notice poor Eddie across multiple shows, and turn it into a big deal. He is on there all the time in their clips now, and they begin a campaign to find the mysterious “Clapper.” Eddie wants nothing to do with this, he wants to go into hiding so his livelihood isn’t ruined. If he becomes famous, he can’t be in the audiences, and he will gain 15 minutes of fame and then be forgotten and poor.

He also is in love with Judy (Amanda Seyfried) a gas station attendant, who also won’t be able to handle the cameras and national fame as it disrupts her line of work.

Also starring Adam Levine, James Ransone, Leah Remini, P.J. Byrne, and Tracy Morgan.

React
The mustache helps him blend in of course.

Honestly, this was a very weird Helms to see. A more subtle, shy, strange Helms. He is normally pretty out there, or extremely weird. He is only slightly weird in this movie, and just plays a simple person extremely well. Like, really well. Like I forgot it was Helms, and instead, just assumed it was a regular person. Somehow with make up and acting he just made himself seem incredibly non-famous, and that is the most notable thing about the movie.

Everything else is pretty, well, standard. Or even below average.

This feels like a film with a $10 budget, even the cool late night talk show host felt like an incredibly fake version of a late night talk show. It felt like it could have been made by teenagers.

The plot didn’t really grow in an exciting way, and it ended also at a relatively lame point.

It is incredibly forgettable. And remember, the higher point is just because Helms knocked mediocrity out of the park.

2 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.

Fist Fight

Fist Fight is an interesting term, because well, most people when they think of the word “fight” they assume fists were already involved. Fists are the default in a fight. That is why we have to specify other types of fights, like gun fights, sword fights, or cat fights. So fist fight doesn’t even need to exist as a term, a little bit of an unnecessary word play here.

Although, at the same time, would you watch a movie called just Fight? Would you assume a movie called Fight is actually a comedy film? No way a film just called Fight could work. After all, we already had the movie Fighting and it didn’t work either.

Either way, in this movie we get two main things. We get Charlie Day getting some leading man role time, which just…never happens. And we have Ice Cube, trying to get rid of the family friendly nature that has come upon him and turn himself more into a badass again.

Point
Oh shit, did Cube turn his fist into a gun? What kind of fight is this again? Man, what a badass.

Mr. Campbell (Day) is an English teacher at a school in Los Angeles and the students are pretty damn wild. He teaches seniors, it is the last day, and no fucks are given. The kids rarely respect their teachers in this school, especially not today. The only teacher they sort of respect is Mr. Strickland (Cube), but because they are afraid of him. But even today some kids want to mess with him.

While Campbell is in his classroom to fix an issue, Strickland ends up threatening a student with an Ax, destroying his desk, due to his prank. That is a big deal, even at this school. Turns out the school is also looking to take cuts out of every department due to low scores. Campbell has a wife and kid (JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Alexa Nisenson), and the wife is pregnant with number two. Even if his job sucks, he cannot lose it right now. So when pressured by the principal (Dean Norris), Campbell caves and admits that Strickland did the deed. This angers Strickland. So Strickland says he is going to kick Campbell’s ass. He is going to challenge him to a fight after school that day, and they are going to throw down. He spreads the word. He is pissed at the world and he doesn’t care about his actions.

Now Campbell has to spend the rest of his day worried. He was already panicking over his wife close to birth, and the possibility of losing his job. Now he also might get his ass kicked? I guess he has to try and fix all these issues during the course of a school day, or else he might die of a heart attack before it is through.

Also starring Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Christina Hendricks, Kumail Nanjiani, and Dennis Haysbert.

Bat
Shit. Now there is a bat involved. Just what kind of fight is this!?

Fist Fight is one of those films that doesn’t make sense to have been made in this day and age. It is just so slapstick in a bad way, negative, and bland it is a wonder it got made. Well, it is obvious how it got made. It would have been cheap as fuck to make, outside of actor salaries. Probably didn’t even take many days to shoot.

A quick no risk comedy film, that can earn its money back at least through the DVD sales.

The whole time I am wondering “Well, will this film end in a fight?” Because if it just ends in a fight, then it just feels childish. I hate that with animated or kids films, and there really isn’t a reason for this film not really in the action genre. But on the other hand, what if there is no fist fight? Then this movie is titled poorly and it would anger people.

So there has to be a fight, but a movie psyched up over a fictional brawl in a parking lot? Hard pass. It isn’t funny, it isn’t original, and it isn’t worthy of your time.

0 out of 4.

The Boxtrolls

Let’s face it. Trailers for the most part suck. Every once in awhile you get a Walter Mitty trailer, but those usually end up only being a first edition trailer, and later trailers ruin everything. Too much plot, too many spoilers, all of the cool shit, they can leave nothing exciting for the viewers when they finally see it on the big screen or awkwardly on their sofa on an iPad a year later.

The Boxtrolls is a big exception to that rule. I only remember two trailers for The Boxtrolls, this trailer and this second one. The former gives us a look of the many models and work that went into the movie behind the scenes, while giving us a song and showing some scenes but not ruining the plot. The second, just a song and scenes, no plot.

And I loved them both so much. After I saw the first one, I really really wanted to see this movie and assumed it would be one of the best animated films of the year. The second trailer only helped secure that notion in my head. And it was brought to us by Coraline / ParaNorman team (the latter, I guess, I didn’t really love, shh).

So, I was totes excited to see this movie, especially because I really didn’t know any damn thing about it. Ahhh, bliss.

My Coozins
I guess I also knew that it starred some of my cousins from up north. You know. Those cousins.

Here. Let me ruin my experience by telling you a little bit about the movie. Just a little bit.

In the town of Cheesebridge, we have humans, and we have Boxtrolls. Boxtrolls are troll like creatures, who wear boxes as armor/clothing. Their name is based on what is on their box. They like to build and tinker, stealing trash from the humans. The humans are lead by those who wear white hats, the elite, those who love the cheese.

Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) wants to be a white hat, he only has a red hat. Who cares if he is allergic to cheese. He wants dat prestige, and will do anything to get it. Even if it means starting a fear mongering campaign against the Boxtrolls, declaring he will capture and kill them all, ridding the town of the pests, and saving the day, earning the white hat.

Yeah. You go Archibald! Unless he is lying, like saying a box was killed by them, when instead, the Boxtrolls saved the boy and raised him on their own. We shall call him Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright), because that is his box name. Raised by Fish (Dee Bradley Baker) and Shoe (Steve Blum), Eggs doesn’t really know if he is a human or a Boxtroll when he gets older and starts feeling things down there. If he is a human, he is a Boxtroll of a human, and if he is a Boxtroll, then he is a human of a Boxtroll. That reference might be too vague for some of you. I don’t care.

Also featuring Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade and Tracy Morgan as Archibald henchmen, Simon Pegg as an inventor, Jared Harris as the head White Hat, and Elle Fanning as a girl who has a punch in the face look the entire movie.

Shittkid
She is made of clay, she can totally help the way her face looks.

Early on in the film, The Boxtrolls had me a little bit uninterested. Sure, the stop motion was really rockin’ hard, but I thought the plot wasn’t moving fast enough and didn’t really enjoy any of the characters. But it surely got better, and somehow the animation even got better. This is by far the best animated film I have ever seen with stop motion, and I am sure it is not just because when I saw Coraline, my 3D glasses sucked. I really need to rewatch Coraline.

Either way, even in one tiny chase scene at a ball, I was wowed at how amazing it all looked knowing what they had to do to make it look amazing. Speaking of the attention to detail, I loved the existential crises that the henchmen were having about good vs evil and how they seemed to acknowledge they were in a movie at times. Had my laughing pretty hard.

The story got better and it ended with a tremendous bang. I wish this was an original story and not based on some book so I could give it even more praise for coming up with these tale out of nowhere. Those guys are good, with the stop motion and clay. I hope they keep giving us high quality work such as this.

I don’t think this is the animated flick of the year, I think at least 3 are better, but it is surely up there and you cannot go wrong with watching this in theater or at home. Very entertaining and a movie I could watch many times and not get sick of it. Yay! I don’t feel betrayed by the trailer!

3 out of 4.

Rio 2

Rio 2. Did it need to happen? The first film, Rio, told a complete story. I don’t remember how I felt about the movie initially, but I quickly grew to hate it.

That’s right, I now hate the first Rio. The songs are terrible, the story is dumb. The songs are really really terrible. After one listen, I knew I could live without hearing them again (but of course I did hear them again). But whatever, I don’t have to dwell on it.

But it got a sequel because it made money, makes sense. Now they have a family of birds, doing family stuff, and living in Brazil full time. At least this time the plot won’t be an inability to fly.

Family
No, this time it is an inability to be fly.

Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) and Linda (Leslie Mann), the humans, are off doing human things. Roaming the Amazon rain forest, looking for cool shit. They stumble on some cool shit, but also some bad shit. I am literally done talking about them.

Needless to say, the bird type that Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) are have a huge home in the middle of the rain forest, away from humans. I mean, after all, they had to come from somewhere right? That’s right, Hathaway actually voiced the same character for the sequel, unlike the travesty that occurred for Hoodwinked Too.

So they take their family and friends to find the lost tribe. Or whatever. Living in the Amazon! Yay! There they meet Jewel’s dad, Eduardo (Andy Garcia) and former lover I think, Roberto (Bruno Mars). Now that Blu knows how to fly, he has to learn how to really be a jungle bird if he wants to make sure his wife still loves him…?

Oh, and uhh. Nigel (Jemaine Clement) is back, wanting revenge. He also has a poisonous frog friend named Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth) who really loves him for whatever reason. And there are loggers. And there are parrots or something that share the forest with the Blue Mckaws.

All of the random ass bird and dog characters are also back (Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, and Will i Am) and yes, they serve even less of a purpose in this movie.

Villains
These two, plus ant eater, plus parrots, plus loggers, means like, 10,000 villains.

Rio 2 is a strange movie. Like I just said, there are so many dang villains, it just felt excessive. Because of that fact, Nigel didn’t have a great send off. When his plan finally came true, it all was super rushed and then the movie ended.

The music for Rio 2 was a little bit better, but not amazing still. This franchise’s problem is singability. I don’t want to go and sing any of these songs later, just like the first one. Just all of them are so erratic. My favorite song was the Poison Love in which Chenoweth goes full Broadway crazy on hitting all sorts of notes. Yes, surprisingly, her character was the funniest of the whole film. She didn’t even have that much time in the movie either it felt like.

I think, somehow they went even more stereotypical than the first movie. There is even a big soccer like match with the birds, including announcers acting exactly as you’d expect.

Everything else was ehh. Was hard to keep paying attention to the film, due to how pointless the plot lines felt. I hope there isn’t a Rio 3 in the future, doing the Olympics or whatever in a couple of years. That will be stupid.

1 out of 4.

Why Stop Now

I was surprised when I was at the local RedBox, another random free rental, and had nothing that I wanted to see. That’s a lie, I had two things in mine, but both disappeared in the two hours between checking and getting. You lose, you lose.

Either way, my two backups were complete guesses. This one had Jesse Eisenberg in it! Nice! He is about 50/50 in terms of quality movies. Why Stop Now indeed? I shouldn’t be worried that it has some big stars in it and it is clearly a straight to DVD release.

Movies
“Why Stop Now” is most certainly the response to someone telling the director to “Stop Now”. You know, because its terrible. Speaking of terrible, that joke took too many words to tell it, and is therefore terrible as well. Now the joke is running itself into the ground. Like Why Stop Now. Yeahh, brought it back around. Oh, fuck.
Eli (Eisenberg) loves him some piano. Loves it hard. He is some sort of adult already, and trying to get into a music/piano school? He has an audition tomorrow, but gets hammered. Smart thinking, Eli.

Especially because he has to take his mom (Melissa Leo) to rehab in the morning, and his sister to school. The problem with rehab is that they either must have good insurance (which they don’t) or be on drugs at the time to get entered, and right now, she is clean. My brain right now hurts, typing this up, I will have you know.

His sister has a sock puppet, that has been getting her in trouble at school, basically being insensitive. Yep. Either way, they have to go to her drug dealer, Sprinkles (Tracy Morgan) to get some pills. This of course puts them on some “zany and wacky” adventure, involving the drug market, family bonds, and trying to get everyone to their appointments on time. Too bad Eli also gets stabbed in the hand during all of this. Hard to play a piano with a knife in it I guess.

Racially Sensitive Sock Puppet
Well, at least the sock puppet is racially sensitive.
I am going to try something different here.

No.

Just fuck no.

Don’t do it. It’s bad. It’s a trap. Fuck it. Fuck it completely. Run away. Just burn the movie people.

0 out of 4.

Death At A Funeral(s)

Plural? Yes.

I watched Death at a Funeral (British version) the other day, and I realized I wanted to see Death at a Funeral (American version) as well. Obviously the British one came first, but I figured they’d be different enough with the same general plot to do two reviews, but no. They pretty much are the same. Some different jokes, but all the same stuff happens. SO ONE SUPER REVIEW (that counts as two, damn it). Also probably my record for most tags. Two ensemble movies in one. Hooray!

Naked Alan Tudyk
And why not start it off with a naked Alan Tudyk on a roof?

So in both movies, the patriarch of the family dies. The main guy (Chris Rock, Matthew Macfadyen) lived with his folks and is an inspiring writer, which is bad because his slightly younger brother (Martin Lawrence, Rupert Graves) already has made a best seller. Jealousy!

We also have their cousin (Zoe Saldana, Daisy Donovan) is bringing her new fiance to the funeral, hoping her own dad will approve of him. This makes the fiance (Alan Tudyk, James Marsden) nervous, and he takes some Vallium to calm down. But it really isn’t Vallium. Her ex is also there (and trying to win her back…Luke Wilson, Ewen Bremner), now a friend of the family, along with another friend of the family (Tracy Morgan, Andy Nyman) who has the unfortunate job of looking out for the wheel chaired uncle (Danny Glover, Peter Vaughan).

Got all that? Too bad. A few problems go wrong, delaying the actual ceremony, which is perfect for the real main plotline. The midget who no one knows turns out to be the secret gay lover of their dad (Peter Dinklage, Peter Dinklage) with picture proof, and threatens to show everyone unless he gets a nice sum since he was left off of the will. Yes blackmail, and midgets.

I am sure I tagged some people and didn’t mention them. Honestly I lost track. Here is Loretta Devine, who you would have guessed was in the American version without looking it up probably.

Naked White Guys
Somehow, both of these actors naked on a roof was the easiest “same scene” from both movies to find.

So, these movies both feature large ensemble casts, with a few different plot lines so that they can all build up and get crazy by the end of the movie.

But which is better? I have heard from multiple sources that they think the British version is WAY better than the American. They also said this before watching the American though. After watching both though I find that…well they are both okay. I didn’t find one vastly superior to the other. Honestly, I probably would have been fine with either of them if only one of them had to exist!

So watch whatever version you choose, knowing full well that if you choose the British one for any other reason than it being the original, then you are probably a racist.

2 out of 4. (British)
2 out of 4. (American)

Rio

Was I entertained? Only kinda. Most of the songs in the movie end up being bad, except of course the small parts where Anne Hathaway gets to go LaadaadaaAaahAhhh. That’s a rough estimate of how her lines go. In fact, the best songs are during the closing credits. Whats up with that? Make some of them part of the movie. Most of the birds ended up being rappers too. Will i Am didn’t need to be in this. Was interesting hearing Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords though. Didn’t realize it was him until the rap part in his song. Too bad his bird character was annoying.

Jemaine Clement
“Clearly you just haven’t seen my real life bird impression.”

The plot was silly. The character, Blu (how original0, voiced by Mr. Social Network himself was a nerdy out of place bird who couldn’t Jive with the happening lifestyle of Rio. He couldn’t even fly! He didn’t like the music, and he liked having an owner. What a freak. Not even Anne Hathaway in bird form could make him change his mind. It took a wacky adventure of hijinks and looking for his owner to gain his own independence. But you could have guessed that. I don’t like the tie in with Angry Birds.

I also don’t think they accurately portrayed Carinval. They make it seem like one big parade at night and that is it. Not the multi-day all day every day affair that it is. Also costumes weren’t skimpy enough. But seeing the owner in her bird outfit for Carnival was CGI-Hawt.

Linda Rio Carnival
SHAKE those tail feathers!

2 out of 4.