Tag: Abbey Lee

Office Christmas Party

Merry Christmas everybody! Sure, I am publishing this review of Office Christmas Party in January, but I totally saw it before Christmas, so this opening is okay.

I just realized that because I already saw it late, I didn’t have to rush out a review for this film, that most people were already going to ignore. Because yeah, it wasn’t the saving grace of comedy films this year. It was a standard, low effort, comedy movie.

So for whenever this review hits the actual page, let’s just pretend it is Christmas all over again. You know, so we can be disappointed and eat pie.

Bad Sign: Googling the movie name gives more pictures from Christmas Episodes of The Office than this film.

This film is about some lame tech company. In charge of the entire business is Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston), left there by her father after he passed away. However, the Chicago branch is being run by her brother, Clay (T.J. Miller), and he is a big fuck up. So despite it being the Christmas season, he wants them to still get bonuses and have a small gathering to celebrate. But not according to Carol. Carol wants it cancelled, no bonuses, and 40% of their workforce canned in order to meet really high growth rates.

Really shitty. But, the CTO, Josh Parker (Jason Bateman), finally divorced and broke has an idea. If they sign the Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance) account by the end of the quarter, they will reach the growth and no one would have to get fired! Yeah! Walter likes them, but will go with a bigger company, because of news of their layoffs, branches closing, and it seems like a negative work place.

So sure. Thanks to Clay and their head tech person, Tracey (Olivia Munn), they decide to throw a giant party at work, against Carol’s wishes. Like, a crazy, old fashioned, people screwing in the copier room type party. They will throw a lot of money into it, show their happy workers, convince Davis they are awesome, and sign him tonight, and no one will have to know!

Sex, drugs, alcohol, gifts, bonuses, and a night people will talk about for ages. Fuck the HR lady (Kate McKinnon)!

Also featuring Jillian Bell, Rob Corddry, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Vanessa Bayer, Randall Park, Sam Richardson, Karan Soni, Jamie Chung, and Abbey Lee.

Look! Santa on a sleigh! How crazy indeed!

I wish I could say I liked this movie. I really do. It has a lot of people I like. Munn seems to mostly make bad film choices after she left Attack of the Show. Miller is usually my favorite supporting character in movies and can usually make a shitty one slightly more bearable, but he did nothing for me in this one. And I love Miller in Silicon Valley.

Aniston still keeps showing up in comedy films while failing to be funny herself. Bateman is playing the exact same role he always does. Mackinnon is forced into an awkward character that is supposed to be an HR exaggeration but every joke is cheap and easy.

It is frustrating because it is a comedy that barely got me to smile, making me laugh maybe twice at a quick joke. It tries to show a crazy and crude party, but doesn’t push the envelope at all. The majority of the party just seems to be Miller rapping over music to very happy employees.

There have been crazy out of control party movies in the past, which is what this one tries to do, but it is surpassed by most of them easily. And the ending where they have to leave he party and deal with pimp problems? It doesn’t help the plot, takes us away from the main focus, and gives us boring action scenes disguised as something interesting.

This is another low effort film, based on a single subject, where the filmmakers really didn’t know where they wanted to take it. Easy jokes, low brow humor, some stereotypes, a penis and some boobs, and I just saved you time explaining what you would see in this film.

Office Christmas Party is not something you’d want to watch with your work friends, as a Christmas tradition, or even as part of a lay party. Easily forgettable, but not easily forgivable for the waste of time it provides.

1 out of 4.

Gods Of Egypt

As a ancient history major, I also love me some good mythology. The stories people used to tell are just as important as what those people actually did. They tell us so much about the culture, how they thought, what they valued, and how they were raised.

Gods of Egypt looks to not celebrate any of this and just go for an expensive CGI fest to tell a bastardized version of the mythology. Now, I have no problem with a movie making up its own stories from actual mythology. After all, if I don’t judge a film based on the book that inspired it, I should also be able to ignore the “real mythology” as well.

It is however quite well known from anyone who sees the trailers that barely any part of this movie is real. Just the actors, and honestly, probably barely at that. It was however one of the first of many new films to film in Australia. It had a budget of 140 million, but apparently thanks to tax incentives and many other offers from the Australian government, it only cost the studio overall 10 million to make. That means they will see profit. Maybe not in week 1, maybe not week 2, but by golly, at least by the DVD sales.

In honor of this film, here is an image that is 100% CGI.

Way back in the day, way back. Pre-Greek stuff. Egypt was a rocking country, parties day and night all down the nile. And Osiris (Bruce Spence), God King of Egypt, was about to pass the kingship on to his son, Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), God of the Air. But Set (Gerard Butler), God of the Desert and War and brother of Osiris, showed up a bit pissed off. He wants the crown, so he kills Osiris in front of everyone. He then challenges Horus to a duel, uses a few cheap tricks to win and secure his kingyness. He also pulls out Horus’ eyes, making Horus blind and unable to use most of his powers.

Now, a year or so later, Set is a very bad king. He is starting wars, he has reduced most of the population to slaves, and has changed the way the afterlife works! Under Osiris’ rule, you had to give a token after death to pass into the after life, big or small, it didn’t matter. Set made it so that only he very wealthy could pass on to the after life. Quite a dick.

Which brings us to Bek (Brenton Thwaites) and Zaya (Courtney Eaton), two poor mortals, now slaves, in love. Bek is a quick and nimble thief, Zaya is just smoking hot, but they make it work. Zaya even convinces Bek to break into Set’s palace to steal Horus’ eyes back. She loves the gods and want Horus to make a come back to rule the world. Bek does what Zaya says.

Needless to say, an eye is stolen, Horus gains some vision back, but Zaya is killed in the ordeal. Horus promises to bring Zaya back from the dead if he can get the eye and defeat Set, as long as this spry mortal continues to help him on the quest. But they have a time limit. Zaya is now walking the path of the dead, and if she gets to the end with no gold, her life will be lost forever.

Also featuring Chadwick Boseman as Ttoth, God of Wisdom, Geoffrey Rush as Ra, God of the Sun, and Elodie Yung as Hathor, God of Love. Also Goran D. Kleut as Anubis, Emma Booth as Memphis, Lindsay Farris as the narrator, and minor-ish roles by Rufus Sewell, Yaya Deng and Abbey Lee.

Look! Real people! Or at least I think these are real people!

First I would like to tackle the white washing controversy. A big deal is made about Butler and Coster-Waldau being white people and playing Egyptian gods. Because Egyptians aren’t that white. And that is true, but they are playing Gods, that tower over the regular Egyptian people as completely separate entities. They could all be blue, as it is all completely fictional and irrelevant. Besides, it is a film that is no way historically accurate and based completely on fiction.

They should be mad that Thwaites is super damn white, because he plays an Egyptian unlike most of the cast. None of this controversy affected my rating.

Instead, what affected the rating was the overly bloated film, the over use of CGI, the terrible plot, and the mediocre acting.

My wife asked me how long the movie was, and I guessed that it surely must be only around 90 minutes or so given the trailers. But no, it is 127 minutes long, full of side plots and side characters with barely any resolution being worth your while. Thwaites is playing our mortal lead, who is spunky and surprises all the Gods who think this mortal man is beneath them. He is there to be for the audience to root for, but his character is incredibly one dimensional. His charm is pathetic and most of the audience by the end probably just want to see him get punched in the face.

The main “plot” of the film involves Horus and Bek going on a journey to extinguish the flames of the desert to weaken Set’s power, so he can be defeated. Needless to say, things don’t go as planned, due to character stupidity, and they have to wing it all at the last minute to save the day instead. This is lazy writing. Twists and turns can and should exist in your story, but throwing away what everyone worked towards for bad reasons is only infuriating.

In fact, by the end, none of Set’s motivations make any sense. He wants to be immortal and to live forever. Somehow he will achieve that by ending all life as we know it. Go and figure that one out.

Morphing time
It is like a very CGI heavy Lord Zedd costume.

Anubis was in this movie! He was also the only God to be in his animal-esque form 100% of the time. For whatever reason, the other Gods (only Set/Horus) just change into their animal form when they feel like it, and everyone else is always human looking. So for Anubis they were just lazy I guess, and definitely inconsistent with how every other God acted.

And finally, the CGI. I can’t imagine any scene set on a real stage or outside. Even the desert scenes seemed to be completely CGI. Why the hell are you going to a desert country and not using its many resources? Oh yeah, tax breaks. The animation is bright, flashy, and ends up looking quite shitty most of the time. I enjoyed the giant snakes, if anything. Part of the craziness around Ra was also well done, but everything else is below quality.

Fun fact: Two of the women that Mad Max and Furiosa freed in Fury Road have parts in this movie.

0 out of 4.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Day 5 of Yay Women Week! Wait, what. This is about MAD MAX. And how FURY the ROAD is. That doesn’t sound go power women ya ya ya at all. But hey, what do you know. You probably haven’t even seen it yet.

After all, early reports about Mad Max: Fury Road is that it actually passes the Bechdel test. So take that haters. Let’s say it fits the theme.

I admit my experience with Mad Max is slim to none. I haven’t been able to see any of the previous three movies (and apparently they don’t matter to this one either).

No, my experience with the franchise are the obvious pop culture quotes, and the NES video game. It involved driving around a barren landscape, looking for gas I think, and getting shot at by cars. In reality, it was about me playing it for like, a minute and dying and stopping. That game was hard.

“Calm down, viewer! Now’s not the time for fear. That comes later.”

Max (Tom Hardy) is pretty crazy. Mad you might say. A loner, roaming the Australian barren plains on his own just trying to survive. He lost everyone close to him. His only care in the world is his survival. You see, the world sucks now. Oil became scarce. Wars, environment, all of that collapsed society. Shit, even water is hard to find.

But you don’t need to know a lot about Max. You just need to know that he has been captured by King Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and his army of skin head pale War Boys. He has his own huge water supply, so he rules the world. The only reason Max is able to escape is thanks to Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron). She has decided to do the right thing and smuggle the Five Wives (Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Courtney Eaton) away from Joe, who wants to breed future war leaders.

And that’s all you need to know! Women get stolen, Max and Furiosa on the run throughout a wasteland, trying to get the ladies and themselves to safety. On their tail is several large war bands, with guns, flame throwers, bombs, and crazed thugs who are basically all suicide bombers. Here you might find some high octane dudes, like, Nicholas Hoult, Josh Heman, and Nathan Jones.

Mask 2
Metal as fuck.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck. The hype train is real. The. Hype. Is. Real.

I didn’t believe it and I didn’t want to believe it. This was my second choice to see this week after Pitch Perfect 2, and if I didn’t go to a screening I would have waited until DVD release. But I am glad I saw it on a giant screen. It helped blow my mind. Here is the thing. The acting? It is pretty darn good. Hardy and Theron were excellent as always and they were completely believable in their roles. Hoult was like an entirely different person and I would have never expected him to do so much. And hell, some of the actresses I saw associated with the film, namely the Five Wives, I felt very questionable towards but even they did a good job. It turns out that with a majority of our escape party being women, this actually fits the theme pretty well.

The plot also is a very decent one. Miller does a fantastic job at world building and creating so many unique elements to really make you realize how much effort went into this movie.

And the action. Hot damn. Most of the action of course takes place on dusty roads with armored dudes chasing each other on cars, but it doesn’t ever feel repetitive. The final chase/action sequence goes on for so long, it is probably longer than the final train scene in The Lone Ranger. And it just keeps on coming at you. Action, explosions, fighting, great choreography. I was amazed. Don’t worry, the film isn’t 100% action, there are quieter times. So let’s just say 85% action. When the action is going, it is going to 11.

I can’t even describe that enough. This is so far the best action movie of the year and one of the best of the last few years. I would say in terms of pure action, The Raid 2 is better, but in terms of extreme brutal violence, Mad Max: Fury Road is miles ahead of the competition. Man, all this bro talk, I feel like the dudes on Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. I’m gonna go listen to Wilson Phillips.

4 out of 4.