Tag Archives: Andy Samberg

Cinema Dispatch: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

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Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky

If I was reviewing films back when the first Hotel Transylvania film came out, it would have easily been in the top five films of that year.  Avengers?  Whatever!  Flight?  Forget about it!  21 Jump Street, Prometheus, Skyfall, Chronicle?  Okay, SOME of those might have made it on the list, but Hotel Transylvania was an absolute surprise that I don’t think anyone has really managed to top in regards to its animation and flat out hilarity.  Now that’s not to say that films like Coco, Wreck-It Ralph, and The LEGO Movie aren’t great in their own way, but what Tartakovsky did with Hotel Transylvania was sheer brilliance and just hasn’t been replicated since.  Except for MAYBE The Peanuts Movie which ingeniously recreated the art style in CG, no other film has felt so AUTHENTICALLY cartoonish as this series, and that certainly earns it a massive amount of respect from me even if the sequel was FINE but not up to the first one.  Now that we’re at the third film though with Tartakovsky STILL directing these (wasn’t he supposed to make a film called Can You Imagine, or that new Popeye movie?), so with this film has the spark FINALLY gone out for this franchise or did they fix the mistakes of the sequel to bring something just as fantastic as the first film?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of Part 2, the titular Hotel Transylvania has been doing well with Count Dracula (Adam Sandler), his daughter Mavis (Selina Gomez), and his son-in-law Johnny (Andy Samberg), keeping down the fort as the place becomes a popular tourist attractions for both humans and monsters, and ESPECIALLY for monster wedding; presumably both in terms of scale and as a description of those tying the knot.  However, all this lovey-dovey stuff has made it more clear than ever that Drac himself has been alone for at least a hundred years since his wife (and Mavis’s mom) died at the hands of a torch wielding mob of humans, so maybe it’s time to get him back in the saddle.  At least you’d THINK that’s what everyone is thinking, but Mavis thinks he just needs a vacation and takes him on a cruise along with all his buddies (Kevin James as Frankenstein, David Spade as The Invisible Man, Steve Buscemi as The Werewolf, and Keegan-Michael Key as The Mummy) along with THEIR significant others (Fran Drescher, Chrissy Teigen, and Molly Shannon), as well all the monsters who have ever stayed at the Hotel so you can see them do their classic bits, and of course we cannot forget Drac’s dad Vlad (Mel Brooks)!  Oh, and don’t forget the kids Dennis and Winnie (Asher Blinkoff and Sadie Sandler) who are on this trip as well but are doing their own thing with Dennis’s giant pet dog Tinkles.  Said vacation by the way is being hosted by the adventurous and very much human Captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn) who’s not just whisking these monsters on a fabulous journey; she’s also managed to immediately steal the heart of Drac who ZINGED the moment he caught sight of her!  Now Drac has to find a way to confess his feelings for Captain Ericka while also keeping it from Mavis who he worries might not accept him dating again after the death of her mother all those years ago.  Can Drac find love out on the open sea, or will his duties as a loving father (and grandfather!) keep him from finding love once again?  Is Captain Ericka as wonderful as she seems and the perfect match for good ol’ Drac, or is there more to her than meets the eye?  If this movie is a hit, can we finally get Tartakovsky to do that Popeye movie?  PLEASE!?

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“We’ve made Sony a BILLION dollars!  You’d think they’d throw him a bone at some point!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Storks

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Storks and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros

Directed by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland

Is this just the year of animated bird movies!?  First we have Angry Birds, now we have Storks… okay, it’s just two movies, but that still seems like too many!  I really didn’t know anything about this movie walking in, having only hear the title and maybe seen a poster, which is odd considering that this isn’t some straight to DVD crap from an unknown studio.  Maybe Warner Bros was keeping this one close to the chest, or maybe I’ve just been living under a rock this whole time.  Anyway, is this the follow-up to the LEGO movie that they’re hoping will prove their viability as an animation studio, or will this prove the Phil Lord and Chris Miller in the director’s chair was the only reason that was a success in the first place?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is set in a world where at one time (presumably throughout all of humanity’s existence up until a few years ago) Storks would receive letters from humans and then… I guess use those letters to create a fetus in some sort of machine that grows them to term in a matter of minutes.  It’s not clear how much control the parents have when deciding what kind of baby they want (no gay kids in MY family!) but regardless, the babies that are crafted in this ungodly mechanism are then delivered by the Storks all around the world.  At some point though, I guess the humans learned how to fuck which made the Storks rather redundant, so they decided to switch their operation from baby growing and delivery to basically become Amazon.  Okay… I have several questions about all of this already, but we should probably move on from there.  So when the movie picks up (which can only be about twenty years after they stopped delivering babies), the best Stork deliverer in the business Junior (Andy Samberg) is up for a management position as the current manager Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) is apparently going to the BOARD OF DIRECTORS or something… even though we never see anyone higher than Hunter in the company structure.  For Junior to get his new job though, he has to do one thing; fire Tulip.  Who is Tulip?  Sigh… okay, rewind a bit.  Apparently right before the Storks stopped delivering babies (maybe this was an inciting incident?) one Stork lost his damn mind after seeing how CUUUUUUTE his baby was and broke the baby’s personalized tracking thingy… which is some sort of GPS device that tells them where the baby goes… and it’s the only copy of that information… so the baby is an orphan now and the stork in question flies off AND IS NEVER SEEN AGAIN!  That baby is now eighteen (i.e. they’ve only stopped delivering babies for less than a generation) and FOR SOME REASON wasn’t brought to a human orphanage, but has instead been bumming around the packing facility this entire time doing odd jobs for the company.  To make a long story short; shenanigans happen, Junior and Tulip accidently make a baby with the decommissioned baby-maker (don’t ask), and they have to deliver it before anyone finds out what the hell he did and he loses his job.  For some reason Hunter wants to stop them rather than help them cover it up (does he WANT Junior to be in charge, or not!?), and of course we have to cut back to the kid who sent the letter wishing for a little brother (he’s gonna get a little sister instead, so maybe the human’s DON’T have that much control over what baby they get) and his issues with his parents being gainfully employed.   You ever get the feeling that the writers didn’t actually think anything through when they were writing a script?

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“Hey!  Isn’t it funny how you’re a bird, but your riding in a plane!?”     “Yup.  Hysterical.”     “I know, right!?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

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Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone

Weird Al got a movie, Oingo Boingo got a movie, and now The Lonely Island have one.  I’m sure you can point to ten awful musician movies for every good one, but there are some all-out classics in that very strange sub genre.  The aforementioned UHF is a lot of fun, Forbidden Zone is an absolute classic, hell, let’s go ahead and throw in The Blues Brothers and Walk Hard: The Dewy Cox story while we’re at it!  True, the musicians in question for those movies are known more for their comedies than their music, but you can pretty much say the same thing about The Lonely Island!  Does this mockumentary into the absurd world of pop stardom turn out to be the perfect update to the Spinal Tap formula, or are these guys not up to the task of stretching their material out for an entire movie?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is presented to us as an documentary into the life of Conner 4 Real (Andy Samberg) whose debut solo album (Thriller, Also) was a record smashing hit and launched him into super stardom after he left The Lonely Island… I mean The Style Boyz.  We start the movie on the eve of the release of his second album which has a pretty amazing title (CONNquest) but it turns out to be a finical and critical flop.  From then on, we follow Conner as he tries more and more desperate moves to salvage the fledgling album and boost his ticket sales while also coming to terms that he may not be as good as he thinks he is (or at least as good as his Yes Men tell him he is).  Along with him on this journey is his DJ Own (Jorma Taccone) who was one of The Style Boyz back in the day, his manager Harry (Tim Meadows) who’s trying to juggle Conner’s insane ego with his duties of keeping their empire afloat, and many others who make up the eclectic group of misfits that Conner surrounds himself with.  Can he manage to find his creative spirit once again and come back stronger than ever, or will he hit rock bottom as he slowly begins to isolate those who are trying to help him.  Oh who am I kidding?  It will probably be both!

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“Would you fuck me?  I’d fuck me.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Hotel Transylvania 2

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Hotel Transylvania 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky

Does anyone else remember just how amazing it was that the first movie was in fact as good as it was?  The movie had been in production since 2006 and had five directors attached to it before finally settling on Genndy Tartakovsky who by all means is an accomplished animator but had never directed a feature film.  Not only that, but Adam Sandler was (and continues to be) a joke for a lot of people and his movie in the last decade or so have been absolutely abysmal.  Despite all that, Hotel Transylvania was not only good but one of the best animated films in a long time.  Now it’s time for Sony to start franchising this sucker with a sequel, but they seem to be doing it the right way by not only getting back the original director but the same writers as well.  Will this somehow manage to be one of the few animated sequels to be just as good if not better than the original, or will they throw out everything that was great about the first film just to milk a couple more dollars out of this series?  Let’s find out!!

After the events of the first movie, Mavis and Jonathan (Selena Gomez and Andy Samberg) start dating and eventually get married in the titular hotel.  Their whirlwind love affair eventually leads to her getting pregnant and giving birth to their son Dennis whom Dracula (Adam Sandler) starts to obsess over because now he has a new outlet for the overprotective behavior he struggled to overcome in the last film.  Unfortunately, like in the first movie, there comes a point where his paternal usefulness may be coming to an end with Mavis thinking that it may be too dangerous for them to stay at the hotel since young Dennis has yet to show any signs of being anything other than human, and in the Lore of this universe if he doesn’t show any signs by his fifth birthday (which is rapidly approaching), he’ll be a human forever.  Dracula, being the crafty bastard that is, enlists Jonathan’s help (who wants to stay at the hotel) to keep Mavis distracted while he and his friends try to force the vampirism into his grandson by taking him on the night of professional scaring.  I wouldn’t think that biology could be affected by cultural immersion but whatever.  So Jonathan and Mavis are off to visit his family in California for some marital R&R (and to see if the place would be a good fit for their family), while the old school monsters are trying their best to not only get this kid to grow his fangs but to recapture a bit of their youthful exuberance as they revisit their familiar haunts from when they were the scourge of humanity which may be a bit more difficult than they were expecting now the humans have learned about monsters and are (tentatively) accepting them.

Some seem to be adjusting better than others.

Some seem to be adjusting better than others.

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