Santa’s Little Helper and all the images you see in this review are owned by WWE Studios and 20th Century Fox
Directed by Gil Junger
We’re back with another Christmas Tale brought to us by the WWE and oddly enough it not only stars The Miz once again but has the same director from Christmas Bounty! Apparently someone saw that first movie and thought that these two should ABSOLUTELY work together again which is certainly not the call that I would have made (mine would have involved an iron maiden to start with), but I guess that’s why I’m not making creative decisions for everyone’s favorite supporter of the Saudi Arabian Royal Family! Will they be able to pull off something halfway decent this time around, or was Christmas Bounty just the warning shot for something even far worse to come!? Let’s find out!!
Right off the bat, this movie is LEAGUES better than Christmas Bounty, and not just because they have a slightly improved font! First, The Miz is the star and not playing a supporting part which means we get to see him right away and all throughout the movie. Second, he is ACTUALLY really good in the role here which is basically yet another riff on the Scrooge archetype and fits in perfectly with his in-ring persona as a guy so smug you want to punch him in the face. He’s some dude who I GUESS works at a mortgage company and is working on this Rec Center the company wants to foreclose on for… reasons. Apparently the director of the Rec Center ran off with all their money and The Miz, who is called Dax Hardwick in this, is personally visiting the place to rub it in everyone’s faces that they’re gonna take it out from under them and bulldoze it to the ground! Damn! We’re up to Grinch levels of evil already!
Christmas Bounty and all the images you see in this review are owned by WWE Studios and Warner Bros Television
Directed by Gil Junger
What, you thought I was gonna stop talking about WWE movies in October! Oh HECK no! Their film studio pumps out PLENTY of stuff including two Christmas movies which we’ll be looking at this December and, oddly enough, both star one of the GREATEST wrestlers in their stable; Mike THE MIZ Mizanin! The dude is one of the best heels WWE has working for them who knows how to work the ring and also has some phenominal mic skills. Too often heels can fall into the trap of either being too good to root against or too bad to be taken seriously. Mike finds the perfect balance where he can back up his cockiness and with a strong show of genuine skill while also seeming petty and goofy which lets us keep hating him for being a jerk; though I still like him either way. What can I say? He’s a charming guy! Will he be able to translate those skills to a made for TV Christmas film? Let’s find out!!
Things start off less than ideal as the movie begins with a terrible Christmas pop song and some pretty cheap looking titles. If you’re post production work is something that I of all people could plausibly pull off, then you MIGHT want to throw an extra few bucks at the editor; at least to get some original fonts!
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by David Yates
There are a lot of ways that you can mess up a sequel, but the most disappointing is when the film doesn’t just IGNORE the problems of the first film but actively builds off of them as if they were what we came there to see in the first place. It happened to The last Exorcism (no one cared about the Satanic Cult!), it happened with… well basically EVERY Hellraiser movie (the Cenobites shouldn’t be the main characters!), and it looks like that’s what’s happening with this film; a sequel to a film I enjoyed the heck out of but ended on… that note, and that’s the direction we’re going with. Sigh… I don’t know, maybe there’ll still be enough of the first movie’s cast to keep this form being utterly sunk by the presence of… that guy, but then again I can’t imagine how good the judgement of anyone involved with this could be if this is the guy they want to star in their lynchpin movie to an entire Harry Potter universe. Does this manage to eke out a bit of fun despite being in such poor taste right out the gate, or is it time for someone else to take a crack at the Wizarding World before the original creators cause even MORE damage to the franchise? Let’s find out!!
After the events of the last film, Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has been under in a magical US detention center and the Ministry of Magic in… I guess the UK (did they ever establish if the ministry in the books was just London, the United Kingdom, or something equivalent to the European Union?) has decided to move him back to London so he can stand trial. Of course they have a very convoluted and whimsical way of transporting this suspected murderer and terrorist which means that he ends up escaping and fleeing to France to I guess gather power and execute the next step in his overly convoluted scheme. If only there was someone powerful enough to hunt him down and bring him to justice! Sadly there isn’t, but Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is still bumming around England after the first movie, so I guess he’ll have to do! He’s been having trouble with his work since the Ministry put a travel ban on him after the events in New York (for reasons I guess?) and his brother Theseus (Callum Turner) is trying to help him within his power as an Auror, but Newt’s not much for shady deals and compromises, so he rejects any offer that they give him to… I think join the Ministry or something. Anyway, all this bureaucratic nonsense won’t keep Newt from starring in this movie, especially since Dumbledore (Jude Law) is giving him Main Character Tips and explicitly wants him to fix everything! I think the plan is that if Newt could somehow get to France then he can find Credence (Ezra Miller) from the first movie who by the way is still alive and important for some reason, and only Newt can do this because… reasons. Oh, but Newt needs more than just saving the world from tyranny as a motivation! Maybe if we could throw in some of the characters from the previous movies, we could get this ball rolling. Oh look! Jacob and Queenie (Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol) are back together and he knows about magic again, but Tina (Katherine Waterston) is in France to try and find Credence for the US Ministry, and now Newt’s super into her which is something I really didn’t get from the first movie, but whatever. Newt heads to France to find Tina and I guess Credence, Queenie fights with Jacob and tries to find Tina, and Jacob goes with Newt to find Queenie. There are also subplots involving Newt’s ex-girlfriend and Theseus’s current fiancée Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz), Dumbledore being under strict watch by… someone at the Ministry, Credence and his new buddy Nagini (Claudia Kim) who gets maybe three lines trying to find his birth mother, and probably a few other things that just whizzed past me as I was watching this. Can Newt find Tina and Queenie and Credence and Grendlewald and maybe a few Fantastic Beasts before the running time threatens to suck up every remaining moment of my life!? Why the heck did they get Jude Law to play Dumbledore just to lock him in a castle for two hours!? WHO THE HECK THOUGHT ANY OF THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA!?
Creed II and all the images you see in this review are owned by MGM Pictures
Directed by Steven Caple Jr
Back when I reviewed the first movie, I made a note that my conception of Rocky for the longest time was just the first three films, so the whole Ivan Drago thing always felt like an afterthought despite it being so iconic for many fans of the franchise. That said, when the first one came out and was about the son of Apollo, yeah there was NO WAY that a sequel could exist without bringing Dolph Lundgren back into the mix which thankfully they managed to do here with what is probably the last necessary sequel to Rocky we’ll ever need (unless we want to bring back Clubber Lang) and they can either continue the franchise without the baggage of the original films or let this series finally lay to rest. Do they manage to do justice to the story of Ivan Drago and Apollo Creed in this tale about their sons settling a decade’s long rivalry, or should the franchise have stopped while it was ahead? Admittedly if they HAD stopped while they were ahead we probably wouldn’t have gotten the first Creed, but in any case LET’S FIND OUT!!
The movie picks up a few years after the first film where Adonis Creed () has risen in the ranks of the boxing world with the help of his wise mentor Rocky Balboa () and the loving support of his girlfriend () (). After winning the WBC World Heavyweight Championship, he has FINALLY reached his dream of reclaiming the belt that his father lost those many years ago! Well that’s great! So now what? He decides to marry Bianca for one, but even with a loving wife and a sterling career, something feels… missing. Despite being the best of the best, he can’t seem to find the joy in it and pretty much immediately starts looking for a new challenge. Fortunately a very helpful fight promoter (Russell Hornsby) saw this coming a mile away and knew that once Adonis became champ that there was only one challenge left for him to face, and by challenge I mean one BIG spectacle of a fight to rake in millions of dollars! We are of course referring to, a rematch with Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren); the man who killed his father. Or at the very least, Ivan Drago’s SON (Florian Munteanu) who as far as I know hasn’t killed anyone, but that might change if Adonis takes the bait and faces him again in the ring. If you’ve seen a Rocky movie, you know the basics of what happens next (i.e. Adonis loses the fight at the halfway point), but what does it mean for him to have his first taste of true defeat, and will he be able to face him once again, as well as all his fears and insecurities that have held him back from reaching his true potential? What will the strain of this lose put on his marriage to Bianca, and will she be able to live the life of a boxer’s wife; something that she’s never had to face since Adonis has never truly lost a fight on his own terms? Perhaps most importantly, DOES ADONIS COME OUT TO LIVING IN AMERICA!?
Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America
We’re back with the final installment of the BATTLE OF ANGEL ISLAND, where our heroes must stop Neo Metal Sonic once and for all; a task not made easy since he turned into a giant chicken! Will our woodland critter revolutionaries stop this mechanized onslaught!? Let’s find out!! The issue begins with… let’s go with MEGA ULTRA METAL SONIC wreaking havoc on Angel Island. Things are looking good for the Freedom Fighters who were tapped out BEFORE Metal Sonic went Super Duper Saiyan, and since the Master Emerald is now embedded in his robo-stomach and Angel Island itself is starting to fall out of the sky! Sadly they don’t have Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Vision to help keep this rock from wiping out all life on Earth on impact, but Sonic has a plan to stop their version of Ultron before it’s too late! What is that plan!? Well we’ll have to wait to find out because there’s still that pesky Eggman subplot we have to deal with! Darn you, writers! All this suspense is gonna sharply increase my insurance premiums! Maybe I should get a better doctor while I’m at it. Say, what about this guy?
Ralph Breaks the Internet and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston
I remember when the first Wreck-It-Ralph movie came out that I couldn’t wait for there to be a sequel! However, as the years went on and the marketing pivoted from video games to him being ON THE INTERNET, I started to lose interest because the sequel that I would have wanted didn’t seem like it was going to manifest. Now that’s not to say I thought it would be a BAD movie, but what I was seeing wasn’t getting me as excited as say a Disney version of Super Smash Bros or whatever where we got even MORE nostalgic characters (maybe even ones from Nintendo!?) that Ralph and crew could go on adventures with. Now clearly NOTHING could have competed with the fan fiction I made up in my brain so even if the lead up to this movie wasn’t filling me with fanboy joy I wasn’t about to dismiss it out of hand for those reasons. Does this manage to live up to maybe not quite MY expectations but REASONABLE ones for a sequel to a modern Disney class, or should they have gone with my idea of having Mario and Sonic fight zombies together while Ralph and Boswer play Yu-Gi-Oh… or something like that? Let’s find out!!
It’s been several years since the events of the first film where Ralph and Vanellope (John C Reilly and Sarah Silverman) uncovered Turbo’s evil plan, and things have been going pretty well since then. Vanellope has been racing, Ralph has been wrecking, and Fix-it Felix Jr and Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun (Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch) have been the most adorable couple ever six years running! Still, things might be settling down a bit TOO much for Vanellope who’s time in the spotlight has turned a bit monotonous, but soon things go all Monkey’s Paw on her as her game breaks down and she and Ralph have to go online to see if they can find a replacement part before the kindly arcade owner (Ed O’Neill) sells the machine for scrap. Once online using the arcade owner’s recently purchased modem, they discover all the fantabulous things THE INTERNET has to offer, including the part they need on eBay. However, they don’t have any ACTUAL money and so need to find a way to score some cash through shady loot hunting in an online game with a bad ass NPC named Shank (Gal Gadot) and slightly less shady viral marketing through a trending video website run by an algorithm called Yesss (Taraji P Henson). Oh, and they visit Disney’s website at one point just to make sure you remember things like Star Wars, Zootopia, and their ever expanding stable of princesses. Will Ralph and Vanellope be able to buy the part and save her game before it’s too late? What will Vanellope learn about herself by seeing all these new and exciting places, and will Ralph be able to adapt to these new experiences? Where exactly did they manage to find such a clean and efficient version of THE INTERNET, and is there any way I can get on there!?
Robin Hood and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate
Directed by Otto Bathurst
Oh BOY is this gonna be a good one! Can’t you just feel it!? The trailers have looked awful, no one is talking about this and if they are it’s not in a positive light, and they’re just dumping this against a huge nostalgic franchise on Thanksgiving! Lionsgate clearly believes they have a bomb on their hands here and from everything they’ve deigned to show us I can’t entirely disagree, but then there are a lot of movies that didn’t have the full confidence of their studio yet still turned out great, from my beloved Jupiter Ascending to even the cult classic Donnie Darko! Will this be another example of a good movie stuck with bad marketing and a poorly timed release date? Yeah, probably not, but let’s find out!!
Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) is some rich punk in the town of Nottingham who meets her true love Marion (Eve Hewson) trying to steal a horse from him. Eh, he’s rich. Possessions are utterly meaningless to him anyway. They’re have a whirlwind romance through montage which is abruptly brought to an end when it turns out that the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) has drafted him to join the crusades. Okay… I thought the armies retaking the Holy Land were volunteers, but I guess if the Sheriff of Nottingham wanted Robin out of the city that he could pull some strings and force him into service. Wait, why does the Sheriff of Nottingham want him gone? Oh whatever. During his military service he manages to be THE BEST SOLIDER EVER but also TOO SWEET to survive in such a place, so after trying to save a captured POW from being executed, he’s non-fatally shot by his CO and sent back to England. Surprise for Robin though, the father of the POW who he tried to save stowed away and wants to use him to take down the oppressive system in Nottingham, and after a pretty racist joke about foreigners having WACKY names, he starts going by the name John (Jamie Foxx). It doesn’t take much to convince Robin to join this fight since The Sheriff literally stripped away every last valuable from his home (including his parents I assume) as well as punched a bunch of holes in the walls, and on top of that Marion was told that he had died and is now married to some dude named Will (Jamie Dornan). With all this rich white boy angst, Robin begins to steal from the rich and give to the poor which soon earns his alter ego a nickname; THE HOOD! Will Robin and John manage to smash Medieval Capitalism (which I guess is Serfdom here?) and create a socialist Utopia in the heart of thirteenth century England!? What is The Sheriff’s REAL beef with him and the people of this town, and is he planning something more sinister than just taking all their stuff? Is it just me, or is a lot of this sounding very familiar!?