Tag: Simon Pegg

Movie Roundup – Mainstream 2018 Part 1

Welcome to a Movie Roundup! A movie roundup features a few films that I didn’t feel like making full reviews for, but needed to get basic reviews out there for completionist reasons. It also helps me deal with my backlog. It may have a theme, and today’s theme is Mainstream 2018 (Part 1)! Basically, the popular movies I had missed, and need to really review, or else.

Being on a movie round up doesn’t mean a movie is inherently bad, or good, or meh. I can feature any rating on here! So don’t assume the worst! I will also just post the reviews in alphabetical order.

Mainstream 2018 Part 1


In the face of this movie, I expected the worst. I thought this movie had to be a typical January release, something similar to
10,000 BC. But alarmingly, it came out in September, and when I finally got to see the movie it mostly met my expectations. It was surprisingly not amazingly bad, just regularly bad.

Gross CGI landscapes to recreate the before time, and a pretty uninspired storyline about the bringing together a “dog” and a man. The other sad aspect of this movie is that people might watch it and go, “Oh, so that’s how it happened! Domestication!” and take this movie as fact. That would be a shame. And I don’t know if people actually say that, because I barely know people who have seen it, but this straw man stands in my mind. A forgettable film, like most dog films.

1 out of 4.

Waiting for Mufasa to show up takes forever.

Crazy Rich Asians

When I first heard this title, I really assumed it was sort of a joke. I didn’t know it was based on a book of the title, or why it was called that, but it just felt off. I thought it would be some sort of exploitative film that was a comedy no one would watch, and hey, it feels good to be wrong. A romance more than anything, this is a film about an outsider being brought into the world of ridiculously rich Asian people in Singapore. So we get all of the wealth, luxury, and snide comments with some back stabbing.

On its whole, it could have been a forgettable romance film. But the lavish sets went all out to display a lifestyle most of us can only dream about, while also bringing in new cultural elements to American cinema. Having the lead be the mom from Fresh Off The Boat was great, and showed she has at least some range. The ending teared me up too. And damn it, it is great in general to see different people on our romance movies. Bring on this wave of Asian-American films, damn it.

3 out of 4.

Out of the three adjectives in the title, I’d prefer the middle one myself.

Mission Impossible: Fallout

“More Mission Impossible? I thought we were done with those,” said no one really ever. Or at least said people who hadn’t been watching them. I will go on record and say the only one I didn’t get enjoyment out of was the second one, and that one has a lot of stranger things going on. I just didn’t see them until I was already an adult, so it took me awhile to appreciate them. Because lets face it, there isn’t another successful American action franchise that is going into this level of detail and craziness for its stunts. It wants Cruise to do most of the work.

He is never going to be the level of some of our older or past martial artist stars, with the long choreographed fight scenes, but its at least a step in the right direction. This film is still exciting, but overall, it feels uninspired. It just isn’t as good as the last two modern MI movies. The stunts aren’t as sexy, even if they have bigger overall stunts. It doesn’t fill me with as much awe, and the story line just gets excessive as it attempts to continually top itself. The ending also feels really clunky and I never really feel that sense of dread that it is going for. A good attempt at an action movie, I just expect a bit more now from the franchise.

2 out of 4.

The biggest stunts are helicopters? Eh, I’ve seen helicopters before.

Ocean’s Eight

I am a huge Ocean’s Trilogy fan, and a huge Steven Soderbergh fan, and so even if the director wasn’t really involved, I was hoping to love this one. Heck, the stars are there too, with a lot of big names.

I will say it feels gimmicky, and not equal, to just go the opposite direction and make it an all female cast. It doesn’t feel natural, just like an all male heist would be with the large numbers (which is why technically the two sequels had…one woman in on the heist). In the movie, it does seem to make a lot more sense, given just the nature of the crime and the talents they needed to pull it off, so that is the good news. The biggest issue overall is just that the movie feels forgettable when it finishes. No one person stands out in acting, and the various twists to show how it was pulled off are for the most part guessable, especially thanks to the title.

I still hope they can do more. Go for it. Just lets raise the stakes.

2 out of 4.

Yep, eight people, like most of the advertising, spoiling a twist.


Finally, a film people maybe thought initially was a joke. A high budgeted comedy (and slightly action?) movie, about people playing tag, that has gone on with very specific rules for decades, and one person who never, ever gets tagged. So many stars, so little time, and such a ridiculous concept (based loosely on a real story). I wanted to enjoy it and was intrigued by the trailer. But like a lot of modern comedies, I think it really just needs a group of people or slight inebriation to really fully enjoy.

I’d prefer a comedy I can find historical alone, and this is clearly one meant for you to enjoy with your own group of friends, which is fine, but limited. Again, with a large cast, no one really feels like a standout, and some people seem to be doing the same sorts of character they are always type casted into. The ending also went a really strange place. Unexpected, sure, but something that feels almost like a complete genre switch.

1 out of 4.


Mainstream movies may be a broad title, especially when you compare them to the other quick themes I put together, but hey, its my themes suck it. I originally would have done genre, but too many films are multi-genre that I didn’t want to deal with that hassle.

Ready Player One

I probably first heard about the Ready Player One four or so years ago, as a book recommendation from a friend. I figured I would rush right out and read it, due to their very appealing sell, but I also had found out that no, they are going to be making a movie out of it. Eventually.

So I did the right thing, and knowingly did not ready the book, knowing one day, Steven Spielberg was going to make the movie. Years later, it appeared!

Now I did hear eventually a general plot synopsis. And I did get to see parts of the book. Especially cringe worthy scenes of nostalgia for nostalgia sake, or lines that were very transphobic. All of it certainly turned me off from the book, knowing I would probably hate it at this point if it wasn’t very well written.

Sign. Somehow I became a book snob when it comes to prose. Blame Patrick Rothfuss. And let’s get on with the nostalgia.

Our star is living in a van down by the river?

RPO takes place a few decades in the future, in 2045. Life sucks by now, overpopulation, war, all the reasons you can imagine. People are living in stacks of trailers to get by and deal with the number of people. Columbus, Ohio is one of the central hubs now! Why?

Well, Halliday (Mark Rylance) and Morrow (Simon Pegg) created a game called Oasis. It is a completely VR experience, where a user is transported into a digital world where they can live their fantasies. They can be anyone. They can be tall, short, strong, fat, boy, girl, something more fluid, whatever they want. The way to buy gear and get better is through in game currency, through leveling up. If you die in game you lose all your items and go back to level one.

Anyways, everyone loves Oasis. It helps them escape their bleak miserable worlds. Wade (Tye Sheridan), our hero, is one of the people in the game hoping to find the three hidden keys to unlock and easter egg. Before Halliday died, he inputted a secret competition, so that the best of the best would compete his crazy challenges. The first one to get all three keys would gain a controlling share of the Oasis, money, and worldwide honor and praise.

But one company, IOI, is hoping to find them first, to change the Oasis into a money making ad tool, and also, do this thing with people slaves. Just general bad stuff.

Also starring Ben Mendelsohn, Olivia Cooke, Hannah John-Kamen, Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, and T.J. Miller.

Hello, totally not Kratos thing!

Ready Player One is a CGI-fest film, taken to the next level, and is animated enough to qualify for Best Animated Film, should they want to go that route. It has obvious references to pop culture throughout it, using the fact that the main creator was a very autistic pop culture junkie, who wanted all of the biggest things in his world. Pop Culture knowledge was supposed to be some sort of saving grace for the characters in the movie, but only one example really helped save the day. Or at least, one non common example.

There is a lot of problems with this film. It is going for a pure popcorn flick, so it isn’t really trying hard on certain levels. Acting is never really believable, and they turn Mendelsohn into a cartoon villain, quite literally with his behavior. It just feels so juvenile.

A lot of artifacts are brought up and clearly used later in the film, but one has to wonder why they exist. Why would they put in an item that kills everyone in the game so everyone goes back to level one? Why? Why would someone make special real life suits for you to wear to feel everything that happens? Most people would just feel pain and hurt in the constant warring atmosphere, its popularity doesn’t make sense.

The game makes you wonder who are the real people behind certain avatars, and well, yeah, for the most part they are all average to attractive looking people. No uglies in this VR world, despite their fears. Come on, almost 30 years from now, in a land where most people just play video games all day? Where are the fatties at?!

One thing that Ready Player One had going for it is that it didn’t feel like a 140 minute film. It was relatively interesting to watch, but it is not something that made me very excited or happy or sad while watching. I just felt indifferent. Throwing a quick scene of a character I recognize into a film isn’t going to increase its grade, it is just going to distract me from the story that is relatively weak.

Ready Player One is a convenient movie (one where things just keep lining up nicely), that relies on nostalgia and an average story and flashy effects to sell the tickets. Easily something that can be better watched at home.

2 out of 4.

Ice Age: Collision Course

After I saw the first Ice Age movie, I avoided the rest. It was okay, I just didn’t have any interest in future films.

But then I became a movie reviewer, and in 2012 Ice Age 4: Continental Drift came out, so I had to watch several movies in a short span and my brain became fried. Every film got less and less scientifically accurate.

After a few years I figured we were safe, but no, since Blue Sky Studios has practically no other films coming out, we were given Ice Age: Collision Course, involving outer space. Another frontier for science to be destroyed in.

So many god damn characters now.

Look at all the people I get to talk about. Our original Ice Age crew is still around. Manny (Ray Romano), the mammoth. Sid (John Leguizamo), the ground sloth. Diego (Denis Leary), the saber toothed tiger. And by this time most of them have lovers and extra friends. Manny has Ellie (Queen Latifah), and her two opossum brothers, Crash and Eddie (Seann William Scott, Josh Peck). Diego has Shira (Jennifer Lopez) and they are only briefly thinking about kids. Oh and Sid is all alone, technically.

But Manny and Ellie’s daughter, Peaches (Keke Palmer)? She has found a long term boyfriend as well now. Julian (Adam Devine), a mammoth who wants to marry Peaches and move her far away from the family. That sucks for the parents, but it would be great for the movie, because this cast of characters is already too large.

Scrat and his nut help cause a series of events that begins to hurtle a giant asteroid towards the Earth, putting a damper on their parties. The giant crew quickly runs into a weasel, Buck (Simon Pegg), who is some sort of extreme adventurer and smart entity, who has been living in an underground paradise. He believes the asteroid is being attracted to the Earth at a certain spot and that if they get there, they can stop it. But with him also comes a group of evil winged dinosaurs (Nick Offerman, Max Greenfield, Stephanie Beatriz), who also escaped extinction. They want the asteroid hit so that the mammals will die out and maybe they can rule again.

There you go! I think I got the basic plot in there.

Also featuring voice work from Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jessie J, Wanda Sykes, and Michael Strahan.

Ah, Simon Pegg, always the light in the darkness.

The pattern seems to continue. Check mate, science. Once again, every further Ice Age film in the franchise decides to take a big poop on science, despite starting off strong. I will say that some of the past discretions are more egregious, most notably being off on Pangaea splitting up by 155~ million years or so. This time, we are being threatened by a meteor, going to destroy the planet. One that is going to hit the same place that killed the dinosaurs, and a previous mass extinction event. The MAJOR plot point is literally just to bring up a real event, and repeat it to give it an old ancient past feel, I guess.

Not only that, but they then go on to imply that events in this film would be responsible for Mars becoming a desert, life less planet RIGHT AFTER saying it would have happened billions of years ago, completely vandalizing our poor time line.

One isn’t supposed to get bent out of shape when faced with inaccuracies in a forgettable animated film, but when the film series used to be accurate and is still trying to showcase science, it gets quite annoying. What hurts me even more so is that Neil deGrasse Tyson not only lends his voice to narrate a few aspects, but they even make a character that is a flash in the pan to look like him for a couple more lines. Damn it Tyson, this movie is not helping get people smarter.

Outside of the science issues, this cast is way too large. No one gets killed off, everyone stays alive, and no one is leaving. So it started too big and then it grew further into the movie. It is beyond manageable and no one can really shine or matter. Not even the original trio. Okay okay, the new guy Buck shines a fuck ton in this film, and they thankfully make him interesting, but it is certainly not enough to save the movie in any way.

And yet, this is not the worst animated film of the year. This isn’t even the worst animated film of the year to imply coldness. Ice Age is lucky Norm of the North exists to give us more context.

1 out of 4.

Star Trek Beyond

I am sad. People die all the time, but now this is my third review post Anton Yelchin death, watching a movie with him in it. And sure, in this one he isn’t the lead. He is a major player, but a relatively minor part with only a few scenes to probably excel in.

Still though, he isn’t the captain.

But going into Star Trek Beyond, I am going in very weary. The last one was interesting, some cool scenes, but overall fell flat as a film. Star Trek Into Darkness was not trying hard enough to be its own movie, relying too heavily on being am unannounced remake.

So I am sad that the Star Trek movies are beginning to feel generic. Sad that Yelchin won’t be in future movies after this one. And sad that this one has unnecessary controversy relating to what George Takei does or does not give his blessing for.

Although if the film gives me a dance number, I might reconsider the generic comment.

Hey look! The USS Enterprise is still in action, still doing their normal things. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is still captain-y, Spock (Zachary Quinto) is still Vulcan-y, Scotty (Simon Pegg), Checkov (Yelchin), Sulu (John Cho), Bones (Karl Urban), and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) are all their names-y. Especially Bones.

Except there are some boredom pains. Kirk is worried he no longer cares about exploring and is just running with the motions. He is thinking bout switching up to a higher position and getting off the ship. Spock is also worried about his future. He just figured out that Future Spock has died (Fuck, I also forgot Leonard Nemoy had died since the last movie. Fuck fuck fuck). With the Vulcans a dying race, he feels he should get off the ship, help be an ambassador and start a purely Vulcan family.

But first, let’s do one more mission. They have to go into a Nebula to look for a missing space craft because only the Enterprise is built well enough to handle it. Everything is going okay, and hey, a surprise attack! Now the Enterprise is crashed on a planet, the crew separated, and a scary race of aliens who want to take down the Federation for some reason.

One last mission always does this, doesn’t it? Starring Idris Elba as the bad guy, Joe Taslim as the bad guy in second command, and Sofia Boutella as Jaylah, mysterious awesome alien lady.

And Jaylah is like Jesus, in that she is a savior of the film.

My main thought during the film and after it was over was how much better the title Into Darkness would have fit for this film than the previous film. It was definitely a darker in tone film. The crew was split up, the Enterprise fucked up, many people captured and some red shirts killed. They went into a very dark and scary Nebula to get to the plot. They went INTO DARKNESS.

But sure, a lot of the film is on a bright planet during the day, but still, that title change would be great.

The film itself is silly and full of meh moments. I honestly found myself shaking my head. Elements that were going to explain everything felt short. Action scenes might not have made a lot of sense. There was a very clusterfucky scene involving the enterprise mostly empty on the planet in the middle of the night, was written for explosions and not for anything else to make sense.

Without a few characters I would have been bored out of my mind and given this a pretty failing grade. But Urban as Bones was really on his game in this film and always brought a smile to my face. Boutella as Jaylah was a breath of fresh air, in terms of humor, action, and the whole package. Jaylah rocks, we need more Jaylah.

In fact, that is the only reason I want more Star Trek movies. Let Jaylah star in all of these movies and not get reduced down to a small bit character and I got something interesting to finally watch.

Yelchin has better movies out this year, go watch them instead. There are better action and Sci-Fi movies this year, and obviously better comedies. But if you just want filler, then there are worse ways to go.

2 out of 4.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

There isn’t much new to say about the Mission: Impossible series that I didn’t already say in my Ghost Protocol review weeks ago. I watched the other four movies in the series, some were good, some were bad. More importantly, the last one was good, so the series is on an upswing and I can be excited!

Tom Cruise puts out exciting movies. He can be a bit crazy, but by damn does the man know how to entertain an audience.

Part of me secretly hopes that this time, in Rogue Nation, the mission actually ends up being impossible and they lose. That would be a nice plot twist and a fantastic way to end the franchise. A bit of a downer, but man, what IDGAF attitude they would have!

Your mission should you choose to accept it: Die in the movie and NOT return for a sequel.

Remember the Syndicate? Of course you don’t! They were mentioned at the end of the last movie but vaguely and that they were bad people. Turns out they are very, very bad people. So bad that Ethan Hunt (Cruise) got captured by them relatively early on in the movie, with innocent people being killed. He doesn’t know a lot about them, they are a very secret organization, led by some guy (Sean Harris) that he of course knows next to nothing about.

All he knows is that he only is able to escape thanks to the help of a woman (Rebecca Ferguson). But just like previous films, due to all of the chaos of events going around the IMF, they officially get disbanded. The head of the CIA (Alec Baldwin) has brought all usable resources into his division, including Benji (Simon Pegg) and Brandt (Jeremy Renner). Luther (Ving Rhames) figured he’d rather retire than work for the CIA.

And now Ethan is on his own, being hunted by the CIA and the Syndicate, the latter of which no organization actually believes exists. A typical Tuesday for him I’d imagine.

Also featuring Jens Hultén as henchman who speaks and Saif Al-Warith as henchman who doesn’t speak, but has a nice beard.

If you look closely, you will notice reversed gender roles!

M:I 5, if I can call it that, was an action movie done right. We don’t have lamely on a mission killing an entire island worth of henchmen, or people running around just yelling shitty puns. No, the action scenes in this film have depth. It helps that a lot of the stunts are done by Cruise himself, which just adds to his action star credibility. The plane scene is the famous stunt scene, which is funny in context of the film based on how little it matters. The underwater scene was one of the best scenes, as well as the motorcycle/car chase.

For the plot, it has the normal twists and turns that the franchise tends to offer, but I think it falls apart a bit near the end. Things get almost too convoluted. Thankfully it doesn’t completely ruin the film which spends the rest of the time before it building up your good graces with cool scene after cool scene.

Ferguson plays the best Mission: Impossible lady star of the five films. She is a kick ass, bad ass woman, who has her own motives for doing everything. She isn’t just a lame plot device for Hunt, like a Bond girl.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is definitely one of the best action movies of the year at this point, and probably one of the better non Superhero action movies from the last few years. Go and see and be entertained.

3 out of 4.

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

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Movie confession: I was born in 1989, and it took until the summer of 2015 for me to watch the first four Mission: Impossible films. I have definitely never seen the TV show (and don’t plan on it). I really wanted to review Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation when it was in theaters though, so I had to gain copies of the first three films.

Oh, I had Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol on Blu-Ray already though. Bought it three years ago for about $3 and put it on my “eventually” shelf.

Well the time is now! And as a way of catching up, I thought the first one was good, the second one was really really terrible and took me five days to finish it (watching a little bit each day), and the third one was decent, thanks a lot to Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Good, we are caught up. On with the recent film!

I have learned to not get attached to the female lead. She totally won’t make the next film.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is now locked away in a Russian prison. He has been there for years! Some say he killed a bunch of Serbians, some say it was due to the death of his wife. Some say he is there on a secret mission. All they know is that they have to break him out right away. So a team featuring Jane (Paula Patton) and Benji (Simon Pegg), who has his field badge finally break him out. They also help break out some dude named Bogdan (Miraj Grbic), because he helped Ethan out, despite not knowing he was secretly an American.

It turns out they really really needed Ethan to break into the The Kremlin to find out the identity of a man named Cobalt. The IMF was close to figuring it out, but one of their agents (Josh Holloway) was killed by an assassin (Léa Seydoux) before they could get too close.

But then shit even goes wrong at the Kremlin. Turns out Cobalt (Michael Nyqvist) was there first and frames the IMF/USA into doing some bad naughty things in the Kremlin. In response to that, the president has disbanded the entire organization, as a way of appeasing the Russians. However, our three crew members were still ordered, on their own, to stop Cobalt and get the USA out of the bad position it is in. But hey, they also an Analyst (Jeremy Renner) on their team, so that is cool! And you know, having to also escape the special agent Russian forces looking to track them down, led by Sidorov (Vladimir Mashkov). Man, there is a lot of hard shit going on.

Oh yeah, and if they fail, probably a nuclear war will happen. Jolly good, righto. Also featuring Samuli Edelmann and Ivan Shvedoff.

Camera angles intentional to show how crazy the stunts are in this tower scene.

Comparing Ghost Protocol to the other three films, it is far better than 2, better than 3, and I would say on par or even better than the first film. Ghost Protocol came out 15 years after the first film, and I am generally skeptical of 90’s movies getting sequels way later. You know, like Jurassic World. Sure, there were other films, but there was still a large gap between films 3 and 4 of those series. I assume they are making a movie not because of having a great idea (just late), but instead hope to ride the nostalgia of movie goers instead of making a new property. Remakes remake money, after all.

I couldn’t be happier to be wrong on my assumption about this film though!

I was on edge of my seat throughout the film, and not just because I also had to deal with a crying baby while I watched it. The plot was intricate, but easy to follow. And there is a ton of action to entertain. The skyscraper climbing scene was better than advertised and one of the highlights of the movie. Both the climb and the descent. Despite knowing that our hero wouldn’t die obviously, it was tense enough to scare me both times. But it wasn’t the only tense moment! The final fight scene in the strange parking garage was colorful and had such well done cinematography.

Despite his real life personality, Tom Cruise makes excellent action movies. His last seven movies, including the Tropic Thunder cameo I have given good or better reviews to. We shouldn’t care about what an actor does in real life (unless it is killing babies?) or if he has a short person complex if he can consistently entertain and put out wonderful characters and work. Needless to say, I am appropriately pumped for the next Mission Impossible and whatever future films he wants to partake in.

3 out of 4.

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

Kill Me Three Times

Kill me once, kill me twice, kill me deadly, as Lita Ford kind of almost once said.

Ms Ford couldn’t count to three, much like Valve, but it is for good reason. Kill Me Three Times? That is definitely excessive. Two is usually excessive as well, unless you believe in resurrection, but most cultures don’t have double resurrection as far as I can tell.

Now, this could be some strange Beetlejuice situation, where the only way to die is killing the entity three times. Maybe the person in question is a third cat and two thirds human (how to genetics work?), so they only were given 3 lives instead of 9.

Actually, yes, that is my official answer going into this movie. A movie that must be about a man who is one-third cat. And no, I hope it isn’t anything like Catwoman.

Although wearing all black and having a sexually awakened pose does give me pause.

In the Australian action thriller comedy (?) we’ve all been waiting for, we get to see Simon Pegg play a hit man! Sure, Charlie Wolfe is a bit eccentric, with a mustache and all. And maybe he doesn’t take out his targets in one well placed sniper kill. But you know, he eventually gets the job done! And right after getting the job done, he gets a call to do another job! Ha ha! Life is good, plenty of work, people to kill.

It is simple, Jack Taylor (Callan Mulvey) wants his wife, Alice (Alice Braga), killed and he wants Charlie to do it. A nice lump of sum for the job too. He wants her dead for the reason anyone would, getting cheated on. She cheated on him with a MECHANIC, Dylan (Luke Hemsworth), which makes sense, given that he is the third (and oldest) Hemsworth.

However, the issue is that Charlie wasn’t the only one who was hired to kill Alice! Enter mild mannered dentist, Natahn Webb (Sullivan Stapleton). He has a bit of a gambling addiction and owes some powerful people a lot of money. His wife and receptionist Lucy (Teresa Palmer) is going to help him out, and they are going to be awkward about it.

Also featuring Steve Le Marquand and Bryan Brown. And other shenanigans and twists occur of course, but if I told you them, you’d have no reason to watch the movie.

Like, omg, how did that knife get in his hand?!

Kill Me Three Times was actually a bit harder of a film to describe for two reasons. One, the story isn’t told in standard chronological order. It jumps around a bit. Why? Just to see things in different points of view, and get some flash backs. That is why. It could be fine, but in this case it didn’t enhance the movie at all.

Two, the movie was boring as fuck. I am so disappointed by how uninterested the film went as it dragged along. This element of course made the scenes where we were able to see events again from a different point of view even more dull. I was bored the first time they showed it to me, now I get to be bored from a new angle!

I don’t remember laughing at all. I thought some scenes may have been amusing, but no outright guffaws bellowed from my diaphragm. Was it a bit dark? Sure. And there was technically a little bit of action to make it interesting.

Pegg wasn’t terrible, but his character also felt underutilized. There was a bit too much advertising his character for how much of the movie was about all the other characters as well, if you know what I mean.

Overall, I would describe Kill Me Three Times as a bad cluster fuck. A movie that wanted to be a Tarantino film and dropped the mark a few yards before a first down.

1 out of 4.

Hector and the Search For Happiness

Happiness is a funny word. You know why. If you don’t, just say it slowly. I think there is a reason for that.

So one could say the search for happiness is a metaphor for coming out of the closet. I mean, you might be hard pressed to find anyone to say that, but theoretically someone could say that.

Regardless of how the movie goes, I am going to have that running through my head throughout the film.

Hector and the Search For Happiness. A movie about whatever you want apparently!

He is missing the most important fun accessory. A fanny pack!

Hector (Simon Pegg) isn’t happy and he wants to find it. That isn’t the full story of course. He is actually a psychiatrist and more bored with his life. He is also bored with all of his clients and finding himself unable to relate to any of them. He feels he can’t help because he isn’t personally happy. That doesn’t mean he is sad either. He is kind of blank on all emotions. And because he would like some emotions, he decides happiness is a good one to find.

So he leaves his girlfriend (Rosamund Pike) behind (rude) to go on a research journey.

He travels to China, Africa, and LA, meeting a variety of people and incidents, all while writing notes and drawing cartoons in his journal. He takes this research game seriously. And yeah, now that is the full story. Monks, nightclubs, refugee camps, researchers.

Featuring a lot of people! Like, Christopher Plummer, Barry Atsma, Jean Reno, Ming Zhao, Stellan Skarsgard, Togo Igawa, Toni Collette, Tracy Ann Oberman, and Veronica Ferres.

Hector discovers unique and exciting fetishes along his journey.

I am happy to announce that my way of watching the movie totally worked. It added a whole new level to it, especially during the moments when he skyped back home to his girlfriend and fought over his journey. He just needed to be true to himself, you know?

Unfortunately, that is an add on bonus for me but not something the movie itself could deliver. So technically Hector only goes three places from London. I think what I want most out of this movie is just more. His journey seemed so much more epic in scale, only going to 3 (okay, kind of 4) places is disappointing. I wanted him to experience all sorts of cultures and lifestyles. But he really only got 2 maybe 3.

The ending itself is also super cheesy. Which fits because with the animations and writing on the screen, it is a kind of cheesy movie. It is a sort of strange dramedy, that is not as good at the drama portions as one would like.

Overall, it is just another average movie. It could have been a lot more entertaining, and didn’t suffer from bad acting at all. Just a weaker plot that makes the film hard to fully embrace.

2 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.

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.

The World’s End

Not a lot of people know that The World’s End is actually the last movie in a trilogy. Yes, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are the first two films, all three of which are directed by Edgar Wright and star the same two people.

These three films make up the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, which I would explain more, but it is British and thus inherently confusing.

It’s beer! Hooray beer!

In the town of Newton Haven, there exists a challenge. There are twelve pubs, and those who attempt this “golden mile” must travel to each pub and drink an entire pint before the night is through. That is a lot of alcohol and few have ever made it. Gary King (Simon Pegg) and his four friends attempted it on the last day of high school to celebrate their accomplishment. Unfortunately, he only made it to nine pubs, and has regretted it for the the rest of his life.

Now, twenty some years later, Gary King is exactly the same as he was in high school. Due to his regret, and living apart from his friends, he has decided to get the band back together to try again. Sure, he might have to lie to get them all to come, but at least his heart is in the right place. Kind of. His friends Steven (Paddy Considine), Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver (Martin Freeman), and Andy (Nick Frost) are now all adults with families, lives, and responsibilities, so they are reluctant when they see he is still so childish.

Their pub crawl becomes even more difficult when there is so much unspoken drama between the group of friends. Thankfully, alcohol makes speaking your mind a bit easier. The group also find that Newton Haven is not the same quaint town they left decades ago. It has changed, and not just in the metaphorical sense. Most of the residents are some sort of alien robot hybrid now. But that isn’t the important issue. The important issue is getting Gary to stop living in the past and finally move on!

Rosamund Pike plays Oliver’s sister and Pierce Brosnan a former high school teacher and mentor to our heroes.

I’ve experienced emotions like this before. Once. Let’s just say, it didn’t end up with blue paint everywhere.

I guess I should start out by saying that I don’t think The World’s End is as good as the previous two films (and thus my rating!). Something seems inherently different. Maybe they were too aware of what they were doing at this point in the trilogy. Not sure, but something just feels missing.

Simon Pegg is playing a character unlike anything I have seen before from him. He was incredible in it. His character was so spastic, impulsive, and such a fast talker. Out of anything, I was most impressed with his acting in this film. Major props to Pegg.

It should go without saying that the chemistry between the group of actors was also high up there. A lot of these men have been working together and real life friends for so long, it is just completely natural.

The film itself was humorous but I don’t think it was “laugh out loud” funny for the most part. You know when a joke happens and you exhale a bit harder because of it to show your appreciation? Yeah, I did that a lot.

The story also seems to run away at times. By the end, I was just waiting for them to get to the last pub, so the film would find some sort of conclusion. I also found myself not caring about the alien/robot threat, which is a main point of the movie. The glowing eyes were kind of neat/scary but by the end they were totally uninteresting.

Fans of the other two films will most likely enjoy this new addition. Someone new to the series is unlikely to get some of the “in jokes” that run rampant throughout, however. Whether this film will be as successful as the other two in a few years is yet to be determined.


2 out of 4.