Ghostbusters: Afterlife and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Jason Reitman
I was a pretty big fan of the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot and am still a bit salty that we never got a sequel to it, so seeing the trailers and just how much the studio was backtracking to safe and familiar nostalgia was pretty demoralizing to see and left me with a bad feeling about this. A Stranger Things knockoff that revels in the legacy of the first two films while grabbing a mostly indie director who just so happens to be the son of the original films’ director just felt like too many ideas on how to make this a MARKETABLE Ghostbusters movie instead of a GOOD one. Still, Reitman is a good director and the buzz so far has been good for the movie, so perhaps I’m being a bit overly critical before even seeing the darn thing. Did my low expectations set me up for a pleasant surprise that finds the balance between mining nostalgia and finding new ideas, or is this a cynical paycheck from a guy whose complicated history with this franchise landed him in the director’s chair long before he ever picked up a camera? Let’s find out!!
Many years after the events of the first movie (and the second presumably), Egon Spengler has made a new life of sorts in a total nothing town somewhere in the Midwest, and while it’s probably not much of a spoiler considering that the actor is no longer with us, he has recently died under mysterious circumstances, and his estranged daughter Callie (Carrie Coon) has come to settle his affairs as well as start a new life for her and her two kids Phoebe and Trevor (Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard). While packing up his things though, Phoebe finds the PKE Meter as well as Egon’s ghostbusting Batcave, and Trevor starts to see some strange things around town; especially while hanging out with Lucky (Celeste O’Connor) at the nearby mine, which is… a thing kids do I guess? In any case, Phoebe starts to investigate the strange occurrences in the town with her paranormal podcasting friend named Podcast (Logan Kim), but more importantly starts to learn more about her grandfather and, by extension, herself. That, and her Summer School teacher (Paul Rudd) is a total nerd who was obsessed with the Ghostbusters when he was a kid, and so the stage is set for the next generation to take up the mantel once these strange things around town turn into STRANGER things! What was Egon doing in this Podunk town in the first place, and is there more than just his old eighties crap that he’s left behind for his family? How will Phoebe and Trevor deal with their newly discovered legacy, and why was their mother hiding it from them all this time? Do you think in thirty years someone will try to do one of these for the 2016 Ghostbusters movie? I mean how ELSE are we supposed to get a sequel!?
Artemis Fowl and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
I don’t think I’ve seen a GOOD new movie since the theaters closed up which is probably no coincidence as any studio who thinks their film will earn MONEY will probably want to wait until theaters are open again to take their chances on a strong weekend box office. It certainly hasn’t improved my general outlook in this very challenging time, but Disney has a chance to lift the spirits of the world by giving us a fantastic adventure film that the whole family can enjoy! Is this the YA cash cow that Disney’s been looking for!? Let’s find out!!
Artemis Fowl Jr (Ferdia Shaw) is the son of famed… artifact collector or something, Artemis Fowl Sr (Clin Farrell); both of whom live a happy little life in a giant coastal mansion with their not-butler Domovi Butler (Nonso Anozie). The only problem is that dear old dad has a habit of jetting off to another adventure in artifact “collecting” which leaves little Artite with little more to do than win dozens of awards at school and be a pompous jerk about it because on top of being super-rich he’s also a super-genius with a bad attitude. Everything changes however when one of his father’s trips ends with his yacht sinking in the ocean and somehow it also comes out that he’s actually a master thief. In reality, he’s been captured by an EVIL fairy and tells little Artie to give them the MAGICAL MACGUFFIN OF ULTIMATE DESTINY, or else his dad is going to die. Oh yeah, fairies and other magical stuff are in this movie which comes in about as abruptly as that sentence did and little Artie gets over the shocking revelation just as quickly. It turns out the MAGICAL MACGUFFIN OF ULTIMATE DESTINY is some artifact from the land of the fairies which is located underground (glad we never ran into any of THOSE cities amongst all the fracking, am I right?) and Magic Cop Julius Root (Judi Dench) is adamant about finding it. One of her subordinates Officer Holly Short (Lara McDonnell) has a personal stake in finding this artifact so she goes rogue and gets… let’s say ENTANGLED with Little Artie’s situation and through further complications, the ENTIRE Magic Army is on Artie Jr’s doorstop and are looking to drag him out of there with the help of a giant dwarf named Mulch Diggums (Josh Gad) who they need for… reasons I suppose. Using only his wits, the help of his non-butler, and even the help of his non-butler’s niece who is ALSO a super genius and kung-fu expert, he must find a way to locate the artifact, get the Magic po-po off his lawn, and try to wrangle an entire novel’s worth of world-building and character development into less than ninety minutes of screen time. Can Artie Jr outsmart the Magic Cops with this heightened intellect and penchant for slick suits? What is the mysterious evil fairy planning, and what will happen if the MAGICAL MACGUFFIN OF ULTIMATE DESTINY were to fall into their hands? Is this grab bag of every other fantasy movie even CLOSE to the sum of its blatantly lifted parts!?
Frozen 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
You know, I actually went to Disney World a month or two back and I REALLY enjoyed Epcot! The sights, the food, the stores with lots of cool stuff in them; they even had a Frozen ride at the Nordic section of the park! And uh… well we waited about an hour to get on it, Elsa sang at us for a bit, and then it was over. Kind of disappointing considering how long it took to get there. Anyway, let’s talk about this sequel to a movie from six years ago. Is it the continuation to Elsa’s story we’ve all been waiting for, or has Disney already sucked the Frozen cash cow completely dry by the time they deigned to give us a sequel? Let’s find out!!
Several years after the events of the first film, Queen Elsa has continued her uneventful reign as the leader of Arendelle along with her sister Anna who seems perfectly content to while away her days hanging out with the magical snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) as well as her boyfriend Kristoff (Jonathan Groff). Elsa on the other hand seems a bit antsier about the drudgery of daily life and even starts to hear the voice of someone calling out to her from the mystical forest which has a dark history behind it. Apparently there was some sort of war between Arendelle and the native tribe of that forest known as the Northuldra and the magical spirits of the forest have closed themselves off from the rest of the world until humanity can get its problems straightened out. Fortunately for Elsa (though unfortunately for Arendelle), it seems that the magic deep inside the forest is starting to seep out and is causing problems for the kingdom, so Elsa has no choice but to find out what’s going on in there and Anna has no choice but to follow her. Oh, and Kristoff and Olaf go in there as well, but it feels like a bit more of a choice for them; unless they can only live if there’s a steady stream of screen time. Can Elsa and Anna figure out what’s causing this surge in the magic, and what it may be trying to tell them? What secrets from the past will they uncover during this journey, and will they be ones they want to uncover in the first place? Seriously, is Kristoff there just because he’s got a ride?
Murder on the Orient Express and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
I’m hardly what you’d call “well read” as most of my cultural education comes from television and movies followed by people TALKING about television and movies, so while I’m aware that there’s a book out there called Murder on the Orient Express written by someone whose work I should really get around to reading, I don’t actually know what the story is about nor who the killer is which I GUESS would make me the target audience for a slick Hollywood retelling of the story starring some of the most beloved character actors out there… and Johnny Depp. I’m certainly excited to see this as I do love me a good mystery, and seeing a movie is ALMOST as good as reading a book… right? Anyway, does Kenneth Branagh manage to successfully bring the Agatha Christie classic to the silver screen once again, or does the brilliance of her work get lost in the midst of his vision for the material? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with the famed detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) solving yet another world class mystery in the heart of Jerusalem and is now ready to take a much deserved vacation to recharge his mystery solving batteries! As luck would have it, he runs into an old friend named Bouc (Tom Bateman) who gets him a ticket on the one and only Orient Express which Bouc is the director of. Sadly for Poirot’s plans of leisure, not only does the train get stuck in an avalanche but one of the passengers (Johnny Depp) comes down with a bad case of MURDER! With only some minor cajoling from Bouc, Poirot begins to investigate The Case of the Stabbed Dude by looking into the pasts of all the other passengers (Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, Marwan Kenzari, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Sergei Polunin, and Miranda Raison) to see if there’s anything to connect one of them to the guy sleeping in a pool of his own blood. Will Poirot uncover the criminal mastermind who was unfortunately enough to be sharing a train ride with the world’s greatest detective? Just who was the man who got viciously murdered, and what could have motivated someone to commit such an act? Wait… isn’t it a bit TOO convenient that the train JUST SO HAPPENED to get stuck after a murder is committed!?
Beauty and the Beast and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios
Directed by Bill Condon
So Maleficent was good, as were the two Alice in Wonderland movies (WHAT!? THEY ARE!!), but what exactly is Disney’s end goal in trying to burn through their entire catalog in search of reigniting nostalgic fans to spend money on these stories once again? Sure, Mulan seems like a good idea, but they’ve got plans for live action adaptations of The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and even a Dumbo movie that’s been in development for almost three years now! Before all that though, we’ve got this remake of the classic 1991 film which seems to be the most… shall we say FAITHFUL, of the bunch so far as the trailers seem to imply that it’s basically shot for shot. Then again, they did bring Bill Condon on hand to direct who’s work includes Dream Girls and Chicago, as well as the ONE decent Twilight movie (*cough* Breaking Dawn Part 2 *cough*), so maybe there’s a bit more inspiration and creative flourish on hand than what we’ve been lead to believe from the marketing. Is this the yet another success for the Mouse House and the new direction they’re taking with their non-Marvel and Non-Star Wars films, or is this just a lazy cash grab for a studio that can do much better? Let’s find out!!
The movie is… well it’s Beauty and the Beast. Do you NEED me to tell you what it’s about? Ugh… fine. There once was a prince (Dan Stevens) who was total jerk. He rejected a beggar woman at his door which seems to be standard protocol in the Aristocracy, but this beggar was the one in ten thousand that you do not mess with as she turns out to be an Enchantress who puts a curse on the prince, his castle, and all of his servants. The prince, who is now a furry, has to find true love before time runs out which is determined by a magic rose slowly dying in his room or else the curse will be permanent and he will have to live as his fursona for all time! Now I wouldn’t think that would be TOO bad of an outcome (buff as all hell, no summer heat because the castle is in a perpetual winter, you don’t have to pay your servants anymore), but I guess it’ll do for a redemption arc. More important than that though is the story of Belle (Emma Watson) herself who is a bright young woman from the local village that can’t wait to live a life of excitement, adventure, and proper bathing habits; none of which she can find as long as she stays there. The village thinks she’s strange because she can read and stuff which makes her a bit of an outcast, but that doesn’t avert the local hottie Gaston (Luke Evans) from pursuing her with all his M’lady charms; backed up of course by his friend LeFou (Josh Gad) who’s just happy to be spending time with the big lug the same way Smithers finds working with Mr. Burns to be so rewarding! When disaster strikes and Belle’s father (Kevin Kline) is locked up by The Beast for trespassing on his land, Belle agrees to take his place and stay in the castle… FOREVER!! Admittedly not the BEST way to start a relationship, but maybe he can learn to stop acting like an uncouth animal from her example and maybe she can finally experience some of that adventure and wonder that has eluded her for so long. I mean… she’s STILL a prisoner, but it is at least a really nice prison! Will The Beast learn his lesson about giving poor people food (or was it finding love?) before it’s too late? What will Belle do now that she’s trapped in a magical castle with talking furniture, and will she find a way to escape her captor? Does anyone else think Ron Perlman should have been cast in this? Thirty years later, and he can STILL pull it off!
The Angry Birds Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly
After the disaster that was Ratchet & Clank, this COULDN’T be worse… right? Honestly, with the track record that video game adaptations have, it’s not like a shitty movie based on a mobile game can tarnish their legacy any more than Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li did, which isn’t to say that I have any hope for this movie; just that it’s not in a position to do much damage. Does this turn out to be an unexpectedly competent surprise, or just another awful adaptation to add to the pile? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the angriest bird in Birdville, or whatever this place is called, named Red (Jason Sudeikis) who has finally pushed the citizens of Bird-opolis to the breaking point! After an “incident” gets out of hand involving a slightly messed up cake and cracked egg, Red is assigned to mandatory Anger Management which is led by Matilda (Maya Rudolph) and is attended by Chuck (Josh Gad), Bomb (Danny McBride), and Terence (Sean Penn); none of whom are particularly well adjusted. That’s only the first half of the movie though. Eventually, a ship chock full of pigs arrives at the Island of Birds and come offering friendship and gifts of the outside world! Only Red can see that they’re up to no good though, but no one wants to listen to him because… well he’s an asshole. Still, he manages to get Bomb and Chuck on his side enough so that they agree to go with him to find the LEGENDARY MIGHTY EAGLE who is said to watch over Bird-sylvania and aid it in its time of need. Can red get over his anger issues long enough to do some real good for his fellow birds? Can the LEGENDARY MIGHTY EAGLE save the town before the pigs enact their nefarious plan? Have these birds never bothered to go off of their island!? How have they never heard of pigs before!?
Pixels and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Chris Columbus
You know, it’s actually not that bad. No, I’m kidding. This movie is absolutely dreadful. I can’t imagine how you could have made this worse. It didn’t give me a terminal illness so at least there’s that much, but this low effort cash grab by Adam Sandler and Chris Columbus is probably the worst thing I’ll see all year. Yes, this is worse than Terminator Genisys. How bad is it? Well you probably already know if you’ve heard anything about this film, but let’s find out JUST how low Happy Madison can sink with this heinous train wreck of a movie!!
Pixels is about Sam Brenner (played by America’s favorite hack, Adam Sandler) who was a video game wiz during his childhood but never lived up to his potential as a… good video game player I guess, and is now a forty something loser who installs electronic equipment for rich people who can’t be bothered to plug in an HDMI cable. Not that his JOB makes him a loser; It’s his entire personality and outlook at life that makes him one of those. Sam is a smartass, doesn’t take responsibility for his own life choices, and blames everyone around him for his failures. His best friend is the god damn President of the United States (Kevin James) yet he still treats him like the fat kid he used to know when they were younger. Not in a “you’re still my best friend” sort of way, but in a “remember when I was cooler than you?” sort of way. Anyway, this pathetic loser is going through his sad life until one day aliens start to invade the Earth and for reasons too convoluted to even bother describing here, they’re doing so in the form of arcade games from 1982 and earlier. Because no one else in the world is as good as three guys who played games in the eighties (therefore conferring the idea that being a Gamer is an exclusive club of badasses who need a minimum level of skill and conformity before being granted the prestigious label), the President enlist Sam, another creepo friend of theirs called Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gadd) and eventually Sam’s rival from his childhood Eddie Plant (Peter Dinklage) to fight the alien menace.