Onward and all the images you see in this review are owned by Pixar and Walt Disney Studio Motion PIctures
Directed by Dan Scanlon
It’s no secret that I’ve been pretty down on Pixar this past decade. On the one hand, we DID get Coco and I guess Inside Out was just fine, but this was also the decade that brought us redundant sequels that I just failed to connect with; particularly Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 which everyone else seemed to enjoy a heck of a lot more than I did. Because of this and the somewhat underwhelming trailers we got (It’s fantasy AND modern AT THE SAME TIME!?), I’m not exactly looking forward to seeing this kid friendly version of Bright, but that’s just the pessimistic side of me talking and maybe this really will be another return to form for the venerable studio. Is this a road trip for the ages and the sequel to Brütal Legend we’ve all been secretly hoping for, or is this a mythical folly more disastrous than that Warcraft movie you’ve already forgotten about? Let’s find out!!
Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) is your typical Elf teenager; aspiring to be Legolas but more like The Elf on a Shelf. He’s gangly, really quiet, and to some people he might come off as a bit creepy considering his lack of social skills. VERY different from his brother Barley (Chris Pratt) who is basically the unholy offspring (in the cool Rock N Roll sort of way) of Andy Dwyer and Jack Black; spending most of his times talking theatrically, creating cool-tastic stories for his knock off D&D campaigns, and decidedly not getting a job or moving out. Some of his arrested development issues as well as Ian’s social anxieties can be traced back to their father who died of an illness right before Ian was born, and there’s a lot of unhandled baggage there despite the efforts of their mother (Julia Louis-Dreyfus ) to make a happy home and the stern if bumbling guidance of their mom’s new boyfriend Officer Bronco (Mel Rodriguez). On Ian’s sixteenth birthday however, that all changes when their mother gives him a gift from his late father that she was instructed to hold off on until this day, and it turns out that their dad was a wizard who came up with a spell to bring him BACK FROM THE DEAD for one day so that he can see how great his sons turned out. Sure! Just ask the Elric brothers how well this worked out for them! Well it KIND of works out as Ian is only able to bring back the bottom half of their dad and they now need to go on an EPIC QUEST TO FIND A NEW GEM FOR MAGIC STAFF, and cast the REST of the spell before the 24 hours are up. Can Ian and Barley find the mythical Phoenix Gem and see their father one last time? Who exactly WAS their father and how far does Ian want to go with these new magic gifts that he’s discovered? Will Barley put him through the Rocky Training Montage of his life!? He certainly has the right music for it!
“You’ve gotta say it bro!” “Sigh… This is my big staff, this is my wand. This is for casting, this is for fun…”
Downhill and all the images you see in this review are owned by Searchlight Pictures
Directed by Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Let’s see… I don’t remember seeing any trailers for this, I didn’t know it was coming out until the day before I saw it, and I haven’t even seen Veep yet. Yeah, not sure what to say about this one going into it, especially since Sonic The Hedgehog took up all my attention last weekend. But hey, I’m sure SOMEONE out there is excited for this film, right? It made it to Sundance! Did SONIC make it to Sundance? I think NOT! Yeah okay, it’s got a good cast but Will Ferrell hasn’t been on the best of streaks lately so I’m giving this about a fifty-fifty shot at being any good. Does it manage to beat the odds and be the surprise hit of the weekend, or will the only thing people remember about this is that it’s the film that tried to take on the Blue Furball on his opening weekend? Let’s find out!!
Pete and Billie Staunton (Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) have taken their sons Finn and Emerson (Julian Grey and Ammon Jacob Ford) to the Alps for a family vacation which frankly Pete really needed as his father died a mere eight months ago and he’s been shaken up about it ever since. You know how these things go however; the kids would rather just be on their screens all day, the busy schedule means everyone is tired, and all this extra effort and tension is bubbling up repressed negativity in unexpected ways. Perhaps the MOST unexpected way though is what Pete ends up doing that puts a huge damper on things for the rest of the trip! At one point the family is enjoying their lunch on the patio when an avalanche starts to approach, and like what any of us would do (what, you WOULDN’T do this?) Pete grabs his phone and skedaddles while Billie clings to the kids and hopes that they don’t all die in the snowfall. They don’t of course, but darn it if Pete running away didn’t become the biggest buzzkill of this entire trip, and it calls into question quite a lot about their lives, their relationships, and where this family is headed. Will Billie and Pete find a way to come back together after this bizarre event has torn them apart? Will their kids be able to cope with the fact that their dad left them for dead and is barely even acknowledging this fact? Seriously, what kind of excuse could Pete POSSIBLY come up with to explain that? At that point you might as well just drop a smoke bomb and disappear for the rest of your life.
“Hey, where were you guys?” “WHAT!?” “Yeah, I was over there waiting for you. What, you didn’t get my text?”