Sing 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Garth Jennings
Was anyone expecting the first Sing to be anything more than cloying and treacly? I mean it’s not like Illumination has a great track record for this kind of thing, especially with those toothless Seuss adaptations, but they somehow pulled it off with that movie which was sweet, sincere, and my favorite animated movie the year it came out! The moment that it was over though, I knew that a sequel was coming and that it was probably going to be a bad idea. The first one worked as its own story, so trying to fit another one on top of it seemed like typical sequel folly and an obvious attempt at a cash grab. Then again, it’s not like I was expecting anything out of the first one and it managed to surprise me, so why not the sequel as well? Can this movie capture the magic of the first film and give us the rare animated sequel that is just as satisfying as the first one, or should we just be glad that we got a good movie in the first place and write this one off as a mere victory lap from Illumination? Let’s find out!!
Following the events of the first film, the Moon Theater is back and better than ever! The all-star cast of Meena, Johnny, Rosita, and Gunter (Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton, Reese Witherspoon, and Nick Kroll) are living their dreams and selling out shows every night; all of which should make Buster (Matthew McConaughey) who owns the theater very happy, right? I mean that’s kind of the dream that they were all striving for in the first one! Well… no. Apparently, they all want to go to the Sing universe equivalent of Las Vegas and perform shows there; presumably next to furry versions of Blue Man Group and Carrot Top. After a talent scout (Chelsea Peretti) brushes them off, Buster drags his cast as well as Ash (Scarlett Johansson) to the big city to prove that scout wrong and appeal to the biggest producer in the city; Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Carnavale). Through some high-level schmoozing and a white lie here and there, he agrees to give them a shot; albeit it with quite a few strings attached. They have three weeks to throw together a lavish Broadway-style show from scratch, they have to include Crystal’s daughter Porsha (Halsey) in some way, and they need to find rock legend Clay Calloway (Bono) so he can be a part of the show. That last one, in particular, is going to be difficult as no one has seen or heard from him in fifteen years, but if Buster says he can get him, then by Jove, he’s gonna get him! Can the crew pull off yet another amazing show, even with the added pressures of a bigger production and an overbearing executive? What new challenges will our heroes face on their latest venture, and is this perhaps the end of the road for them? I mean it’s not like Buster has a habit of getting in over his head, right? Surely he knows what he’s doing!
Fighting with My Family and all the images you see in this review are owned by United Artists Releasing
Directed by Stephen Merchant
There really should be more wrestling movies! Not movies starring wrestlers because… well after forty years we’ve managed about three good actors out of it, but movies ABOUT wrestling! Beyond the Mat? Good documentary! The Wrestler? Great movie! With those two examples, I rest my case! In the hopes of rectifying this situation, we’ve got WWE Studios along with Dwayne THE ROCK Johnson producing a biopic of sorts that tells the life story of one of its more recent superstars Saraya-Jade Bevis, known by her ring name Paige! Can the combined efforts of The WWE, Dwayneson The Rockson Johnson, and even the talents of Stephen Merchant who they roped in to write and direct this thing, bring us an entertaining and heartfelt movie about one of the world’s most popular sports, or are we in for another low rent outing from the studio known for mediocre horror movies, straight to DVD action flicks, and Hannah-Barbara crossovers? Let’s find out!!
Saraya (Florence Pugh) is your typical teenager girl in your typical wrestling family. Her parents (Nick Frost and Lena Headey) have trained her to be an in-ring superstar and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) is training to be a superstar in his own right. The family owns a rather notable indie wrestling promotion in England known as the World Association of Wrestling, but even with their comparatively high profile as a company they’re still struggling in a country that doesn’t seem to care much for independent wrestling promotions. That’s why Saraya and Zak have been training in the hopes of getting the attention of the WWE which will not only propel them to the levels of fame and adulation that they’ve always wanted but will also give them a few bucks to send back home whenever WAW ticket sales fall short. Their chance does eventually come when the WWE and NXT (the training program for potential wrestlers) visit England to put on a show and field some new talent; all of whom will be tested by one of their most seasoned trainers (Vince Vaughn) to see if they have what it takes. The good news is that Saraya does indeed have what it takes! The bad news is that Zak does not and so she has to leave her family behind to pursue her dreams while has to stay behind and fail to live out his. Can Saraya survive the harsh challenges of the NXT boot camp and keep her head on straight despite being so far from home? What will Zak do now that he’s failed at the one thing he’s been training his whole life for? How intense do family dinners get when you know everyone there can power bomb you into the mashed potatoes?
Phantom Thread and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Is this it? Are we done playing catch up with 2017? I just absolutely LOVE IT when studios hold back on releasing Oscar Caliber Films to the general public until weeks after they’ve already been reviewed, examined, and voted on! VERY helpful for the small time outlets who don’t get critic screenings or screener discs sent to us! Oh well. It’s certainly too late for films like this and I, Tonya to be considered for my best of 2017 list (which I’m SURE Neon and Focus Features absolutely CRUSHED about, but I must stay firm!), but that doesn’t keep them from potentially being good movies that you should check out! Better late than never I suppose, though it’d be nice if Hollywood would stop releasing EVERYTHING awards worthy in a two month period to only VERY selective markets; ESPECIALLY when half the time they don’t even get the awards they’re looking for! Does this movie deserve the countless accolades it has accrued in the tail end of Oscar Season, or is this the latest victim of a hype machine that severely overestimates its actual quality as a film? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the story of Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) who unfortunately shares the name of a crappy Billy Bob Thornton comedy, but aside from that he’s a meticulously detail oriented dress maker who extends his obsession with perfection to his personal wife as well as his work life. His schedule is quite regimented, his appearance is consistently maintained, and his relationships to others are carefully filtered through his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) who’s basically the only person keeping him on track and able to focus his eccentricities on something that’ll keep the lights on. One day, Reynolds goes off to the countryside and finds a waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps) that he is immediately smitten with. He asks her on a date, they have a lovely dinner, and by the end she’s half naked while he’s dictating measurements to his sister who’s writing them all down for future reference. Whether or not Reynolds is TRULY attracted to Alma rather than the shape of her body is not entirely clear, but she goes away with him back to the big city to be his protégé of sorts and to help him model the dresses he makes. However, because neither one of them are all that great at communicating, the expectations they put on each other that neither of them are able to meet start to put a strain on the relationship and could potential be volatile enough to destroy his life, her life, and even his sister’s life as everything could come crashing down upon them if they can’t sit the hell down and decide what they really mean to one another. Will these two act like grownups and get their issues resolved before they explode in a fiery maelstrom of passive aggressive horror? Will either one of them start contemplating drastic actions that will certainly not solve their underlying issues? Wait, isn’t this the plot to like… every romantic comedy ever?