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?
Like a Boss and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Miguel Arteta
Now that I think of it, have I really liked ANY of Tiffany Haddish’s movies? I’ve reviewed most of them by now, and outside of The Kitchen and MAYBE Keanu, her movies are mostly meh or worse which is a pattern that certainly doesn’t bode well for this film. Then again, she’s never the reason why those movies are bad and is often the complete opposite! She’s someone who can make a terrible film tolerable and a mediocre one a delight which goes to show how strong of a performer she is even if she’s not the most adept at picking scripts. In any case, is this latest entry in the Tiffany Haddish oeuvre worthy of her talents, or is she stuck shouldering the weight of another lousy movie along with every other talented person that was roped into this? Let’s find out!!
Mia Carter and Mel Paige (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) are best friends and co-owners of a beauty store that they opened together; Mel & Mia’s! They have good employees like Sydney and Barett (Jennifer Coolidge and Billy Porter), they have great friends they hang out with (Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell and Jessica St Clair), and aside from being in quite a bit of debt at the moment, they’re their own bosses and are living the American Dream! Things couldn’t get any better for them, EXCEPT THEY DO! A big makeup conglomerate owner named Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) has taken interest in their little shop and she is offering to clear their debts AND let them retain fifty-one percent of the company once it merges with Luna’s! Sounds like a sweetheart deal to me, but Mia is skeptical of such a good deal and she turns out to be right as Luna is hatching an EVIL scheme to screw them out of their company! There’s a clause in the contract that if either one of them quit their job that Luna would be the one to take over, so as long as Luna finds a way to break these two best friends up, she will be able to cut them out; leaving them with a mere… forty-nine percent of a company that Luna hopes to make millions off of. Okay… seems like an awful long way to go to make a fraction more money and to NOT use the experience and expertise of these women who got on her radar in the first place because of their good ideas, but whatever floats her boat I suppose. Can Mia and Mel weather the storm that Luna will be putting in their path and come out he other side still friends? What will these trials reveal about these two and has their friendship always been as strong as they claim it to be. How will they survive if they fail this challenge are left with no debt and a huge amount of money anyway!?
Pokémon Detective Pikachu and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures, Toho, and The Pokémon Company
Directed by Rob Letterman
I know you all are just on PINS AND NEEDLES waiting to find out if this movie is good… unless you’ve already seen it. Seriously, I need to get somewhere that’ll show these things like two days before release date because APPARENTLY EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD GETS TO DO THAT! Sigh… anyway, so Pokémon is no doubt one of the cornerstones of nineties nostalgia which means that we are officially getting too old, but it’s also one of those franchises that has remained popular in all that time, unlike say Transformers which always had a fan-base but one that certainly waned past the eighties. Because of that this has a chance to appeal to not just the adults in the audience who grew up on Red and Blue, but also the kids who enjoyed whatever the heck those Pokémon Mystery Dungeon things were, and not only that but probably the first video game movie to really capture the spirit of the material outside the rather awesome Resident Evil movies. And the DOOM movie; don’t at me! Is this the greatest movie of all time that will span the generational divide and bring us all together in such turbulent times, or perhaps are we a bit TOO overexcited about seeing the cuddly creatures on the big screen? Let’s find out!!
Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) is basically the opposite of your average man child in the Pokémon universe. Instead of going out and exploring the world at the age of ten, he went to school and got a real job at an insurance company. I mean say what you will about getting a nine to five, at least you don’t have to survive off fight money and live in a tent! Yes, Tim is happy with his boring life which is free of Pokémon for… reasons, but then his idyllic life in a small town comes crashing down when he gets a letter in the mail informing him that his father died in a mysterious car crash. Not only that, he was a cop in Ryme City which is unique for letting Pokémon just walk around instead of being confined to balls, and I THINK it was founded by Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy) who owns Clifford Enterprises which is a… company that does business stuff I guess. Anyway, Tim gets to town, goes to his father’s apartment who rather strangely has a children’s bedroom set up for his twenty-one year old son who hasn’t visited in YEARS, and he tries to figure out the fastest way to deal with all this before he goes back to his normal life. Sadly things are not about to go his way as a rouge Pikachu with amnesia in a Stantler stalker cap (Ryan Reynolds) has broken into his place and is certain that his father is still alive. With much hesitation and after one terrifying Pokémon attack, Tim finally agrees to help Pikachu solve whatever mystery is underway; enlisting the help of investigative journalist slash intern Lucy (Kathryn Newton) and her awesome Psyduck! Will Tim discover the truth behind his father’s disappearance and will he reunite with him once again? Where did this talking Pikachu come from, and what connection does he have to all of this? Is this gonna be the very best that no movie ever was, or should you be… preparing for trouble!?
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is owned by Warner Bros Pictures and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners
Directed by Rob Letterman
We knew this was coming and yet it still feels totally unreal, doesn’t it? They’re FINALLY going forward with a live action Pokémon movie and frankly they seemed to have made the smart move by going with one of the Pikachu spin-offs rather than try to encompass the entirety of the Pokémon experience into one movie, but hey! Just give it a few years and we’ll surely get our Pokémon Trilogy followed by a Pokémon Expanded Universe, so for now let’s take a look at the trailer for what will surely be one of the biggest films of next year! The first thing I’m sure everyone noticed is HOW FREAKING DARK THE TONE OF THIS MOVIE IS!! I mean sure, it’s not Bladerunner, Sin City, or even Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but the aesthetic here is unlike anything I’ve ever seen associated with Pokémon; even that Pokémon Coliseum game with that broody looking protagonist. It’s ridiculously incongruous in so many ways; especially where this dude who looks MAYBE sixteen is supposedly a grown ass man on the police force (maybe?) and lives in Daredevil’s apartment complete with overbearing neon lights constantly seeping through the cracks of his blinds, and we have moody cinematography with wistful music over freaking Pokémon posters on his walls! It’s utterly ridiculous and frankly feels about on par with the Super Mario Bros movie as far as strange yet oddly compelling design choices for such a kid friendly franchise. Yeah, I said it! Super Mario Bros THE MOVIE looks pretty cool!
Deadpool 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by David Leitch
The first Deadpool was really solid for what it was, and I know that sounds like a backhanded compliment, but it only SORT of is! It was not so much a movie in its own right as it was a proof of concept for a character to show how something this dark, comedic, and off the wall can be done in the super hero genre. It makes sense considering this character had pretty much been struggling to prove itself for years as a cinematically viable presence what with the awfulness that was Origins Wolverine (there was an even a stinger for him to return in later X-Men films) or even that CG rendered test footage that became the big car action scene in the real film. I wasn’t THE MOST thrilled with the end result as a movie, but I was glad that Ryan Reynolds found a character perfectly suited for his capabilities as an actor and that a studio was finally ready to back him up on that. Now that EVERYONE knows who Deadpool is and are ready to see him in action outside of an origin story, is there enough left to work with to make the amazing film he truly deserves, or was he just a gimmick the whole time and lightening won’t be striking twice for this one? Let’s find out!!
After getting his revenge, resolving his character arc, and making a boat load at the box office, Deadpool AKA Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is living his Merc with a Mouth life full of blood, snappy quips, and awesome days with his lady love Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Sadly the good times won’t last forever and Wade is basically left to his own devices which can only spell doom and gloom for those foolish enough to get in his way… unless of course you’re made entirely out of metal. Oh hey! His best buddy Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) is made of metal! Maybe he can get Wade out of his funk and FINALLY get him to join the X-Men! Thing is, that’s KIND of a monkey’s paw wish as he DOES indeed join the team (as a trainee) but right away screws things up when a young mutant named Russell (Julian Dennsion) gets himself into trouble and Deadpool comes to his aid in a manner that doesn’t QUITE meet the X-Men code… or the law, and winds up going to Mutant Jail which is apparently a thing. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s ALSO a half cyborg dude named Cable (Josh Brolin) pulling a Terminator by coming back to the past to save the future and it SEEMS to involve both Wade AND death, so Deadpool certainly has his work cut out for him in order to escape prison, keep the kid from ending up a reprobate like himself, and stopping the Future Cop from whatever the hell it is he plans on doing. Will Wade learn how to not just be an irreverent jackass, but an irreverent jackass with a HEART? Just how far will Cable go to complete his mission, and how much collateral damage will Wade have to suffer because of it? He may not be the best man for the job, but is he at least the FUNNIEST one!?
Rough Night and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Lucia Aniello
Out of all the movies to come out this year… this is certainly one of them. Honestly, I think I only saw one trailer for this thing and it seemed just fine, but nothing all that inspired. Sure, the cast is REALLY solid with a bunch of extremely talented comedians, but we just go through Baywatch which no one but me liked and honestly Raunchy comedies WITHOUT such a high concept as a beach movie starring God’s Gift to Humanity (we mortals have deemed him THE ROCK) aren’t usually my cup of tea as they tend to prefer pushing buttons than be genuinely funny. Does this movie manage to be an exception to the rule when it comes to telling dirty jokes, or are we in for a long night of sub par genital jokes and bottom of the barrel toilet humor? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the exploits of five friends who are Jess (Scarlett Johnansson), Alice (Jillian Bell), Frankie (Ilana Glazer), Blair (Zoë Kravitz), and the relative newcomer to the group Pippa (Kate McKinnon). The first four were all friends in college but have started to drift apart now that life and responsibilities keep getting in the way and are off to reconnect in Miami, along with Pippa who met Jess in Australia, for a bachelorette party. Jess, the bride to be, is hesitant at first but gets into the spirt of things… right at the point where a stripper they hired (a SUSPICIOUS looking stripper!) is accidently murdered by Alice. With so much going on in their lives none of them can afford to go to jail, so they start coming up with increasingly ridiculous and desperate ways to get rid of the body and try to forget this whole thing ever happened. Will these five friends find some way to heal the rift that has built up between them despite there being a dead body in the room? What will Jess’s soon to be husband Peter (Paul W Downs) think when he gets a panicked phone call that doesn’t explain what’s going on? Will this AT LEAST be better than the Hangover sequels!?
Office Christmas Party and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon
Christmas themed comedies for the most part (at least the ones that aren’t made for TV) have a pretty solid track record with classics like Elf, Bad Santa, Home Alone, Christmas Vacation, and A Christmas movies among their prestigious ranks. I would also include How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the Ron Howard one) and even Jingle All the Way among those, but I tend to be in the minority with that particular opinion so we’ll save those arguments for another time. The point is that there’s a certain sense of… shall we say EFFORT that comes to be expected when trying to cash in on the holidays; even if the goal is to make it raunchy like they did with A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas (another classic) which seems to be the intent here as this movie seems to be a mix between Project X, The Hangover, and the first ten minutes of Die Hard before the terrorist took over the Nakatomi building. Does this wild party live up to the standards of excellence we expect from Christmas films, or is this just a lazy cash in that just so happened to wrangle in a whole bunch of popular comedians to do a whole bunch of lazy material before collecting their Christmas bonuses? Let’s find out!!
Our story begins at the Chicago branch of Zenotek which sells servers or something like that where we meet our key characters for the shenanigan fueled debauchery that will unfold in due time. We’ve got Josh (Jason Bateman) who’s basically if Jason Bateman worked at a branch of a tech company, Clay (TJ Miller) who’s basically if TJ Miller was in charge of said branch of a tech company, Mary (Kate McKinnon) who is what you’d imagine Kate McKinnon would do as a caricature of the head of human resources at said branch of a tech company, and a bunch of others played by Sam Richardson, Vanessa Bayer, Karan Soni, Randall Park, and Rob Corddry to fill out this scenario where a branch of a tech company as filled entirely by smart asses and awkward comedians. Oh, and Olivia Munn is in here too as the uber savvy hacker Tracey to be Josh’s love interest and to provide the very obvious Chekov’s Gun for the finale. Anyway, while we’re getting introduced to all these employees at Zenotech and setting up the boring typical Christmas Party, The CEO of the company Carol (Jennifer Aniston) who also happens to be Clay’s sister has informed them that the branch is about to get some HEAVY cuts and that the party is cancelled. Well that certainly sucks! If only there was a way to fix both problems at the same time… Oh wait! There’s a big contract up for grabs and the company’s representative is in town (Courtney B Vance) so maybe they can woo him into signing a contract with the BEST CHRISTMAS PARTY EVAR, giving their employees the great time they deserve and saving the branch in the process. It could work, right?