Movie Review: The Lego Movie

IMDB, The Lego MovieAdventure, 100 Minutes, 2014: “The Lego Movie” on IMDB

This is a completely formula, by-the-numbers family film. Bright, colorful animated characters voiced by famous people. Lots of jokes with popular references. Fast action! A simple plot! A super-sappy emotional message!

Folks, sometimes formula works. Sometimes formula works really, damn well.

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Movie Review: Free Birds

IMDB, Free BirdsComedy/Family, 91 Minutes, 2013: “Free Birds” on IMDB

Hey, kids: want to watch a completely bland, totally mediocre, computer animated family comedy! It stars famous people! It has topical references and horribly bastardizes history! It’s 90 minutes long! It’ll cost just as much as a good movie to watch, and you’ll never get the time you spent with it back!

In fact, it cost over 50 million dollars to make; that could have bought actual turkeys for over two million people! So, kids, want to watch a movie that starved millions of people? Do you? Yes, you do?!

No! *SMACK!* No you don’t! Now go to your rooms and think about how you’ve disappointed your mother and me!


Movie Review: Frozen

IMDB, FrozenAdventure, 102 Minutes, 2013: “Frozen” on IMDB

Hey kids, it’s time to dig up Hans Christian Anderson and carve another chunk from his desiccated flesh! Sure, we’ve left him alone  for awhile, but it’s time. We’ve been gouging at the Grimm boys for a while. We even did some Japanese imports! The crew over at Pixar’s been good to us but, dammit, we need a new princess to feed the machine! And this is a two-fer!

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Movie Review: Turbo

IMDB, TurboAnimation, 96 Minutes, 2013: “Turbo” on IMDB

This is the latest installment of DreamWorks Animation’s unofficial series of things that would rather be other things. Like the other installments, this movie is just full of life lessons!

Perhaps the most important is, “Don’t be afraid to dream!” A very close second is, “If you actually want to live your dreams then there’s no way you can just be yourself. You suck. You’ll need, like, superpowers or something. Maybe you should try ingesting random chemicals or getting pulled through magical machinery because otherwise your dreams just aren’t going to happen. You’ll die lonely and unfulfilled.”

There’s also a useful bit about how all your heroes are likely megalomaniacal  douche-bags.

DreamsWorks is apparently hard at work creating even more feature films in the series. You can expect to see “Stumped?” which will feature a large, knotted sycamore stump that, through struggles and perseverance, earns his PHD from Harvard and “Control Group!” about a misfit band of guinea pigs that finally fulfills their dream of inflicting devastating injuries on others to replicate previously published results.


Movie Review: Smurfs 2

IMDB, Smurfs 2Family/Comedy, 105 Minutes, 2013: “Smurfs 2” on IMDB

The Smurfs, like French Fries, are often mistakenly assumed to have originated in France. In fact both are Belgian! So, if you want to thank somebody for unleashing a swarm of little blue nitwits with shared speech impediments and mono-cultured personalities, find yourself a Belgian! They apparently also have a carrot museum.

So, yeah. Belgium.

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Movie Review: Planes

IMDB, PlanesFamily, 91 Minutes, 2013: “Planes” on IMDB

It used to be that companies like “Pixar” had to suffer poor imitators. Other companies would come along and produce, at best, paint-by-numbers knock-offs that hit all the same notes but couldn’t hope to match the music. For every “A Bug’s Life” [IMDB] there was an “Antz” [IMDB] and for every “Finding Nemo” [IMDB] there was “A Shark’s Tale” [IMDB]. These big-budget semi-clones where never terrible but they were always missing something.

Luckily, due to the big-business merger of Pixar and Disney they can now get the same exact treatment from themselves! The best thing about this is that they get to keep all the money!

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Movie Review: Despicable Me 2

IMDB, Despicable Me 2Comedy, 98 Minutes, 2013: Despicable Me 2 on IMDB

Had some trouble getting into this one.  The core story is straightforward but, overall, forgettable.  Our reformed hero, Gru, with his three foundlings in tow, is recruited by an anti-villain organization to help them investigate, um, villains.

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Movie Review: Monsters University

IMDB, Monsters UniversityComedy, 104 Minutes, 2013: Monsters University on IMDB

I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say it until they prove me wrong: Pixar doesn’t make bad movies.  They just don’t.  Some of their movies are worse than others, but none of them are bad.  This one is, in fact, worse than others.  It’s a super cliched story.  Mike and Sully, bestest friends for life, are introduced when, get this, they didn’t like each other!  They join the worst fraternity on campus and have to compete against the best fraternity… who are also total jerks!

Still, it’s a good movie.  Predictable as a one-horse race, but fun and warm and clever.  There are all the wonderful little Pixar callbacks and in-jokes that fans expect and some really great casting.  It’s not among the best Pixar movies, but it’s comfortable and you’ll laugh.

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Movie Review: My Dog Tulip

IMDB, My Dog TulipDrama, 83 Minutes, 2009: My Dog Tulip on IMDB

This is an odd little animated movie that I immensely enjoyed.  The story is, basically, a biography of Tulip, an Alsatian dog owned by Londoner J.R. Ackerley.  Tulip is, most people would have to concede, a “problem dog”.  She’s rambunctious, hyperactive, possessive and unruly.  Her owner lives in constant wonder of her.

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Movie Review: The Croods

IMDB, The CroodsFantasy, 98 Minutes, 2013: The Croods on IMDB

The Croods are cavemen.  In fact, after a series of misadventures, they are the very last cavemen in their area.  They say they survive by fearing everything, rarely leaving their cave and never doing anything new.  They actually survive via bombastic, attention-drawing action sequences that completely ignore everything they say.

When the Croods cave is destroyed by a nebulous earthquaky, firebally, argmageddony kind of thing they team up with a lonely wanderer, Guy, from a more advanced tribe.  He introduces them to fire, new ideas and new ways of doing things which are difficult for the head of the family, Grug, to accept.

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