Trolls World Tour and all the images you see in this review are owned by DreamWorks and Universal Pictures
Directed by David SF Wilson
I know I’m a week late on this, but even with the convince of being able to watch this one at home (and let’s be frank here, I’m not spending THAT much more money than I would at the theater), I just couldn’t be asked when it actually came out and frankly I had better things to do like play that Final Fantasy VII remake than watch a sequel to an animated film I didn’t like all that much. But even if we do have the perfect excuse to sit around and do nothing as it is now the socially conscionable thing to do, I still need to maintain SOME sort of routine to not go stir crazy in here, so fine. Let’s buckle down and watch yet another toy commercial dance around for an hour and a half while playing all the songs your parents used to like! Does it manage to somehow surpass the low expectations that its predecessor had set, or are we in for a LONG bout of isolation if this is the bets that studios can give us in these tumultuous times? Let’s find out!!
Following the events of the first film, Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick) is living out her fantabulous troll life singing songs, performing dance numbers, and being worshiped by her beloved subjects. Her best friend Branch (Justin Timberlake) seems a bit more uneasy about the idyllic life but he puts up with it in the hope getting out of the friend zone (ugh…) to either spend the rest of his life with the troll he loves or this is some elaborate power play to become KING OF THE TROLLS! Of course it’s not the latter (that would be far too interesting), but instead the conflict ends up being a group of ROCK TROLLS led by Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) who is traveling across the land attacking similarly music-themed tribes to steal their magical music strings that the former King Peppy (Walt Dohrn) failed to clue Poppy in about during her Queen initiation. Apparently each tribe of musical trolls (the trolls we know are known as the Pop trolls) has a magical string that signifies their music, and does… something. I’m not exactly sure what, but if Barb gets all six of them, puts them on her super awesome guitar, and plays some tasty licks with them, it’ll turn all the trolls into Rock trolls which will unify the troll kingdoms which will accomplish… something. In any case, Poppy wants to try and negotiate with Barb to see if they can unify peacefully, but it becomes clear that she’s more about taking everything over than working together, and so she and Branch along with Biggie (James Corden) have to travel the land and try to get the other tribes to work together to stop Barb from fulfilling her dastardly destiny. Will Poppy be able to convince any of the other tribes that working together is better than falling apart? Is there more to the history of the strings and these tribes than Poppy knows, and will that play a key role in defining the course of this current crisis? Do you think Justin Timberlake ever wonders why he’s not in better movies or has he just resigned himself to mid-level animated shlock?
Trolls and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn
Ugh… I seriously do not care about trolls; either in general or the ones created by Thomas Dom which this new movie is supposed to be based on. We already have two Smurf movies and another one on the way! WE DON’T NEED A KNOCKOFF!! Okay, I need to calm down. Just because it’s a DreamWorks animated film based on a property I do not care about, doesn’t mean it’s going to be BAD. Shrek was based on a book, and I liked that movie! Okay… that was like fifteen years ago, but maybe they can pull off that same magic here as well! Does this manage to be a fun adventure in a colorful world, or is this one hell of a bad trip? Let’ find out!!
The movie begins with a whole backstory for the Trolls and the Bergens. You see, boys and girls, Trolls are full of sunshine and happiness and like to sing, dance, and hug all the time. Bergens on the other hand are grumpy and miserable like all of us in the REAL world, and apparently the only time they feel any semblance of happiness is whenever they’re eating Trolls. I guess all that ecstasy the Trolls have to be taking in order to keep up their parties makes their flesh chock full of endorphins or something. For the longest time, the Trolls lived in a tree right in the middle of the Bergin kingdom (seems like a bad idea if you ask me), but they escape with due to the valiant effort of their king (Jeffrey Tambor) and the ones the Bergens end up scapegoating for this is their Royal Chef (Christine Baranski) who is banished form the kingdom. Twenty years later, the princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) is set to become the queen of their new home, and she puts on the biggest party EVAR despite the protestations of the grumpy survivalist Troll, Branch (Justin Timberlake). Sure enough, the revelry is enough to get the attention of the Chef, who’s been looking for the Trolls for the last twenty years, and she’s finally able to snatch a few of them to bring back to the Bergens and get back into the graces of their current leader, Prince Gristle Jr (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Poppy sends all the remaining Trolls to Branch’s doomsday bunker to stay safe, and Branch begrudgingly goes along with her to rescue her kidnapped subjects so that he can clear them out of his home as soon as possible. You know! Like that OTHER DreamWorks character who’s a lonely curmudgeon in a fantasy world! Will Poppy and Branch find their friends before they’re boiled alive, chopped to pieces, or stuffed in a pie? Just what does the Chef have planned once she gets back in the Bergens’ good graces? Seriously, do these Trolls do ANYTHING other than party!?
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!