The Super Mario Bros. Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Aaron Horvath & Michael Jelenic
I’m not sure how clear I’ve been about this in the past, but this is kind of a big deal for me because I’ve been a Mario fan for as long as I’ve known that video games existed. To this day I lean towards Nintendo consoles, and while I haven’t finished Odyssey quite yet, I’ve at least finished all the primary 3D console games of which this adaptation is taking a lot of its inspiration. Needless to say that I will have far more thoughts on this than I should have, and in order to express them all I’m going back to my classic overlong format just in case you were all getting far too used to my newer snappier style. Given the decades of hype and speculation around the idea of a proper Mario movie, is there any hope of Illumination rising to the challenge and delivering the best video game movie ever made, or do we need to lower our expectations to something a little more reasonable given the studio’s particular brand of middle-of-the-road family entertainment? Let’s find out!!
Mario and Luigi (Chris Pratt and Charlie Day) are two Brooklyn plumbers who have just started their own business and are ready to make it big! Sadly the duo doesn’t have much luck as shenanigans abound, and a flood in the city leads them to some magical green pipes that transport them to the fantastical Mushroom Kingdom. Well, at least Mario gets sent there while Luigi gets sent to The Dark Lands and winds up as a prisoner of King Bowser (Jack Black) who is the big bad around here and is looking to take over the kingdom by dethroning Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy). With Mario looking to save his brother and Peach needing some muscle for her upcoming war with Bowser, the two strike a bargain to help each other as they head to the Jungle Kingdom to enlist the help of the Kongs. Will Peach and Mario be able to save the kingdom and Luigi from Bowser’s terrifying machinations? Can Mario learn the ins and outs of this world and become its greatest champion like John Carter and Flash Gordon before him? What’s really driving this Koopa tyrant in his quest to take over the world, and does he sing a song about it?
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by Mike Mitchell
Everyone loved The LEGO movie, right!? And then most people loved LEGO Batman, right!? And then LEGO Ninjago was… okay, right? Well now it’s time for the return of the one that started it all and it’ll be JUST as good as the original… right? Sigh… okay, so the trailers for this film haven’t filled me with a whole lot of confidence that it’ll be on the same level as the original film. It looks FINE if nothing else, but this is THE LEGO MOVIE! We don’t just want fine, we want PHENOMENAL! Then again, maybe that’s putting too much pressure on this film which doesn’t have the benefit of being such an out of the blue surprise, and while the trailers aren’t inspiring me with a lot of hope, maybe they’ll find a new angle to take it in that’ll make up for not being able to put the genie back in the bottle! Can this sequel be Justas good if not better than the first film, or has the LEGO phenomenon finally run its course? Let’s find out!!
Immediately following the events of the first movie, the Duplo aliens of the Systar System have waged an all-out war with the people of LEGO city for five whole years and have left it a Mad Max style barren wasteland with no more bright and shiny blocks. ONLY DARKNESS AND NO PARENTS!! Well except for Emmet (Chris Pratt) whose upbeat attitude cannot be damped even in the face of utter annihilation! That turns out to be a problem though as the nice house he built has attracted the Duplos once again and now they’ve taken all his friends from the first movie which includes Lucy AKA Wyldstyle, Batman, Benny, Princess Unikitty, and MetalBeard (Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, and Nick Offerman) back to their home planet for their own nefarious purposes that we soon learn to be a shotgun wedding between Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi of the Systar System (Tiffany Haddish) and a very reluctant Batman. Clearly something has to be done to save them, but the only one of the LEGO people willing to take the chance is Emmet who haphazardly travels through… space I guess, to find them. Along the way he is saved from an asteroid field by the dashing rouge Rex Dangervest (also Chris Pratt) and his army of super smart velociraptors who agree to help Emmet on his journey to defeat the girly Systar invaders because being a TOUGH GUY means punching things that are pink and frilly! Can Emmet save his friends from Systar invaders who want to brainwash all of his friends and put Batman through a forced marriage!? Can Lucy escape from the Queen Watevra’s cunning grasp, and does she know something about this place that she isn’t telling the others? Is it just me, or did things get REALLY complicated for a movie about plastic toys?
Hotel Artemis and all the images you see in this review are owned by Global Road Entertainment
Directed by Drew Pearce
So you’re telling me that there’s a movie with Dave Bautista AND Jeff Goldblum in it, but it’s NOT part of the MCU!? That seems like a bit of waste, especially considering the latter is clearly playing the same character minus the highlights, but I guess not EVERYTHING has to be a superhero film… at least for now. Anyway, I kow ABSOLUTELY nothing going into this film other than seeing the poster once, and even that didn’t give much information on what this was going to be about, so it’s yet another chance for me to roll the dice at the theater which can be REALLY great when a movie surprises you, but then you run the risk of being completely unprepared if the film is an absolute train wreck. Did I manage to roll sevens on a solid action film, or will I end up getting snake eyes on my last bet before I lose my thumbs? Let’s find out!!
It’s the year 2028 and our movie begins with a crew of gangsters trying to pull off a bank heist in the middle of LA during a riot. It seems that some big conglomerate turned off the water for everyone and now people are rising up to march their corporate offices and beat the hell out of anyone still working there which is an awful indictment of privatization and a huge humanitarian crisis, but ALSO a great opportunity to steal stuff because the cops are busy elsewhere. Capitalism, am I right? Anyway, the heist doesn’t quite go as planned and they barely seem to break even by just taking the stuff of those who happened to be there at the time, but one of them gets shot (Brian Tyree Henry) and his brother Sherman (Sterling K Brown) has to drag him to a SECRET CRIMINAL HOSPITAL known as The Hotel Artemis run by The Nurse (Jodie Foster) who has a very precise set of rules that are followed to the latter; else you have to deal with the orderly named Everest (Dave Bautista) and you do not want to deal with Everest unless absolutely necessary. Sherman and his brother aren’t the only ones there however as a fellow guest staying in the Nice room (Sofia Boutella) is nursing a gunshot wound and another guest in the Acapulco room (Charlie Day) is getting his face fixed up after some sort of encounter. Seems like a typical night at The Hotel Artemis, right? Well it turns out that riots can cause a fair bit of chaos, even in a place as well protected as that, and things start to unravel as someone from The Nurse’s past start to show up asking for help (Jenny Slate), and the big mob boss who helped The Nurse set this place up known simply as The Wolf King (Jeff Goldblum) is stopping by with a gunshot wound; flanked by his hot headed son (Zachary Quinto) who chafes immediately at all the rules. Oh, and it turns out that Sherman’s brother managed to take something that belonged to The Wolf King during the heist, and if he were to find out… well let’s just say that wolves aren’t typically known for their ability to share things. Can The Nurse keep order in this place while the rest of the world is descending into chaos around her? How long can Sherman keep himself and his brother out of sight, and will they be able to escape in time? How is it that no one can just follow the rules!? IT’S NOT THAT HARD!!
Pacific Rim Uprising and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Steven S DeKnight
Hey, remember when Pacific Rim was a thing? Yeah, it REALLY feels like a long time ago at this point, doesn’t it? I mean, it DID come out five years ago, but with The Shape of Water showing us what Guillermo del Toro is really capable of when he puts everything he’s got into a movie (and not just special effects),Pacific Rim is feeling more and more like an afterthought in his career. That being said, it WAS a really well made movie with a great turn by Charlie Day as a befuddled super science, and it led to him and his co-star Burn Gorman teaming up again for one of the best episodes of It’s Always Sunny; Flowers for Charlie! Now we’ve got a sequel that doesn’t have del Toro in the director’s chair and looks to be more of a big budgeted Transformers competitor instead of the more methodical and intense vibe of the first film which certainly isn’t a BAD direction to take the series in, but will they be able to pull it off? Let’s find out!!
The movie takes place ten years after the events of the first film where Jake (John Boyega) who is the son of Idris Elba’s General Stacker Pentecost is NOT living up to his father’s legacy and is instead bumming around one of the many cities that were more or less abandoned after being hit by a Kaiju attack. Jake doesn’t like to play by the rules and would rather spending his time ripping parts out of retired giant robots known as Jaegers than to join the Pan Pacific Defense Corps (PPDC) and continue his father’s legacy while also preparing for the next inevitable Kaiju attack. Too bad for Jake though because he runs into a fellow street hustler named Amara (Cailee Spaeny) who’s made her own mini-Jaeger but is soon busted along with Jake for having an illegal robot which is a thing now I guess. Anyway, Jake is faced with some serious jail time if he the cops throw the book at him, but his sister Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) who is a General in the PPDC offers him one more chance to set his life straight. Join back up with the PPDC and train some new recruits which will include Amara whose impressive robot making skills has caught the PPDC’s attention. So that’s it, right? It’s basically Top Gun but with robots! Well… not quite. While this is going on, we ALSO have to worry about the PPDC losing their favor with the rest of the world as a tech company led up by Liwen Shao (Jing Tian) has developed Jaeger drones that can be piloted by ONE person instead of two, and can do so remotely which will pilots from having to climb into the robots themselves. Seems like a good idea, but if you know ANYTHING about sci-fi movies, there’s always some unforeseen consequences to overly mechanizing jobs that humans are also doing; ESPECIALLY jobs which involve deadly weapons! Not only that, but while this squabble is taking place, there are hints here and there that the Kaiju may be returning sooner than they all think! Can the PPDC and the Shao Corporation come to an understanding before even bigger threats will tear them both apart? Will Jake be able to finally stop running from his TORTURED BACKSTORY PAST (mostly involving Daddy Issues) in order to succeed in the one place where he truly belongs? Any chance we can just forget about that Power Rangers movie and just let the filmmakers behind this make one that’s ACTUALLY good?
The images you see in this editorial are the property of their respective owners
One of my favorite shows of all time is Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia which I actually came into pretty damn late into its run. I was always aware of its existence, but I never really had a reason to sit down and watch it until around 2013 when I was stuck in bed for like two days due to a minor surgery I had and I needed something to watch to kill the time. In an effort to fix that problem, I booted up Netflix, saw that it had like eight seasons, and figured why not? To this day, I rarely go a week (and usually no more than a single day) without putting it on in the background of whatever it is I’m trying to do at the time which is more often than not writing stuff for the site (I’m watching Mac’s Banging the Waitress as I’m typing this… though less likely to be watching it while you’re reading this). Sadly though for fans of Sunny, the latest season ended on a rather bittersweet note as it may in fact have been the final appearance of Glenn Howerton’s Dennis Reynolds who is STRONGLY considering leaving the show, despite it getting renewed for at least two more seasons. Now as much as I’d hate to see him go, I don’t necessarily begrudge him for doing so considering they’ve already done twelve AMAZING seasons, and I hope he has all the success in the world with what he plans to do next which looks to be a show with Patton Oswalt where he plays a disgruntled and malicious high school teacher. So what does this mean for fans of Sunny? I have no idea! Maybe they’ll hold out for him on the off chance this new show fails (the thirteen season has already been pushed back a year), or maybe they’ll try to solider on without him; hoping the remaining four members of the crew can somehow manage the burden of his absence. For me though, this is a perfect chance to do some fun speculation on possible replacements for Howerton to either fill the void he left or to possibly even turn the show into an entirely new direction. That is why I have listed my top five BRILLIANT ideas of who they should get to be the new fifth member of the crew, though unfortunately Schmitty is not one of them. The ranking is mostly in terms of how much I want to see this person (or even persons) show up in the series, but I TRIED to keep the list as practical as possible. As amazing as it would be to get Nicolas Cage, Scarlett Johansson, or Denzel Washington to be fifth member of the crew, I doubt they’ll be picking up Rob McElhenney’s calls anytime soon.
5) Topher Grace
Probably not the first name that comes to mind when trying to fill in an enormous gap on one of the most ingeniously crafted shows of all time, but hear me out! We all know he played nerdy Eric Foreman for a decade and that he wasn’t all that great in Spider-Man 3, but his filmography since then has been, if not STERLING, at least interesting. He’s REALLY good at playing slimy characters like in Predators and American Ultra which is more or less a requirement for a show like It’s Always Sunny, but what really makes him seem like a perfect fit is that he naturally exudes a sense of weakness and apathy in his performances which I know doesn’t sound like a complement but fits perfectly with the ethos of the show. Everyone in that bar, except maybe Frank, has no direction in their life and is living in a perpetual state of denial about everything around them with Mac thinking he’s tough, Charlie thinking he’s quirky instead of a creep, and Dee failing to understand why she’s never achieved her goals (fear of rejection keeps her from making a whole hearted effort at anything). Look at his performance in the recent Opening Night where his level headed cynicism is clearly a mask for his own insecurities and how the wackiness of everyone backstage continues to push him further and further over the edge. Now imagine it was the crew that was pushing his buttons the whole time! The guy seems to be getting regular work in films just outside the mainstream (his most recent role was in a Netflix movie) so I doubt he’s looking to tie himself down to a TV show, but that kind of character coupled with the horror show that is the crew at Paddy’s Pub could make for an interesting dynamic.
Fist Fight and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Richie Keen
First rule of Fist Fight? Make as many references as possible! Hey, I’m not the one who said FUCK THE POLICE in the red band trailer, alright? That’s ALL on Ice Cube! Corny lines aside though, I’ve been cautiously optimistic about this film; mostly because of the cast as I LOVE Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Ice Cube can be pretty compelling when given the right material. I mean sure, it IS February which usually doesn’t fare much better than January as far as movies, and while it’s been pretty mediocre since the start of 2017, there have been a few bright spots here and there. Can this movie about two dudes beating the crap out of each other for contrived reasons be one of the exceptions? Hell, we let John Wick get away with that, right? Let’s find out!!
The movie takes place on the last day of high school where all the seniors are pulling hilarious pranks like hanging vulgar signs on the building, stealing the principal’s car, and mowing a penis into the track field. Needless to say that none of the teachers are too thrilled to be here (and yet for some reason aren’t calling the cops) which includes English teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) and History teacher Ron Strickland (Ice Cube). Well… maybe less so Mr. Strickland who seems to come at today with the same FUCK YOU attitude that he would every other day as he’s the only teacher who can SORT OF keep the kids in line; mainly by threatening to beat the shit out of them. Of course, a guy with these kinds of anger management issues is bound to do something stupid, and that happens on this fateful day where one kid pisses him of and he takes a fucking fire axe to his desk; in full view of the class as well as Mr. Campbell who just so happened to be around during the incident. Under threat of both of them being fired by Principal Tyler (Dean Norris), Mr. Campbell rats on Mr. Strickland who in all fairness endangered the lives of SEVERAL people and probably shouldn’t be in a god damn school in the first place if this is how he’s gonna act. Mr. Strickland doesn’t quite see things that way however, and like a REAL man decides that he’s gonna punch his way out of this, so he challenges Mr. Campbell to a fight after school which the entire town hears about in a matter of minutes. Hashtag Teacher Fight! Can Mr. Campbell find a way out of this ass beating, or is he gonna get his face smooshed in by a guy twice as big as him? Does Mr. Strickland have ulterior motives for starting this fight in the first place? Can… can someone tell who thought this was a good idea in 2017? Please?