Yesterday and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Danny Boyle
This may be a movie about music from fifty years ago, yet the premise is even older than that as the idea of a hapless someone getting a shortcut to fame and fortune is one of the most basic cornerstones of literature. When you take that premise and make it about something other than say measurable wealth and status (i.e. Aladdin) to instead focus on some sort of perceived skill or art form (i.e. music), you can run into a few issues; namely that you have to sell the audience on the perceived greatness of something that is rather subjective. You either have to play into the impossibility of someone ACTUALLY making the greatest music ever like with Tenacious D’s Tribute or even Fish Story, or your stuck trying to write it yourself and just ignore the disconnect (*cough* Harsh Mistress *cough*). The workaround for all that though is what we’ve got here which is a jukebox musical of sorts where the songs being played are widely considered (at least somewhat) to be the greatest of all time, and in this era where Musical Biopics are now in vogue, it was probably the best way for yet another Beatles tribute to stand out among the crowd. So then! Does this movie manage to capture the magic of that one band from Liverpool, or will this be a bigger stain on their legacy than Magical Mystery Tour THE MOVIE? Let’s find out!!
Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is the typical struggling artist who spends his time stocking store shelves between gigs that no one bothers to see. His manager and best friend Ellie (Lily James) still believes in him and his amazing songwriting skills, but if it hasn’t happened yet then it probably isn’t going to happen and so he decides that now is the time to hang it up. The universe on the other hand has other plans for him because as he’s riding home on his bike that night, there’s a global power outage that no one ever finds an explanation for but did lead to Jack getting hit with a bus; breaking his guitar, his front teeth, and his spirit even more. After a lengthy recovery though, he soon realizes that no one remembers who The Beatles or any of their amazing songs. You know, songs like Yesterday, A Hard Day’s Night, and… others. Okay, so there were A LOT of songs, but Jack can surely remember enough of them to finally have a chance to be the musical star he’s always wanted to be! I mean these songs are culturally important and should exist in some form for the betterment of mankind, so Jack is practically doing a public service here, right!? So that’s what Jack does as he starts recording classic tracks like I Want to Hold Your Hand and Let it Be (seemingly unconcerned with the arc the band took in their music) as well as songs like Back in the USSR which sounds a bit retro now, but still jams! It takes a bit of time, but he does eventually start to get a following and it seems like all that success is just around the corner if he can just stick it out through the hardships and machinations of the music industry, but with so much changing so quickly and his loved ones seeming to get further and further away from him, is this truly what Jack wants now? On top of that, if HE remembers who The Beatles are then there has to be other’s out there too, right? Can he keep up the lies before this house of cards comes crumbling down, or will everyone be cool with it since no one knows who the fudge John Paul George and Ringo are anyway? Most importantly, is he gonna get a mediocre Hanna-Barbera cartoon as well!?
The Spy Who Dumped Me and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate
Directed by Susanna Fogel
Another Spy Comedy, huh? Well I guess there are genres with even worse track records than that, but there’s clearly an uphill battle to be fought considering how bad a lot of these movies turn out; not to mention the fact that the trailer was kind of meh despite the film starring two of my favorite actors working today. I’d rather they be doing OTHER stuff like say a Ghostbusters sequel, but until everyone realizes just how wrong they were about that movie, I guess this will do just fine. Hopefully! Does this movie manage to be a shining example of a genre that is notorious for underwhelming films, or will this succumb to whatever curse has made it so hard to make good Spy Comedies? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) who are two best friends living their normal early thirties lives without a whole lot going for them; particularly Audrey who just got dumped by her boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux). BY TEXT! What a jerk! I sure hope something bad happens to him! Well… just wait fifteen minutes. It turns out that he’s an INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY which comes as news to Audrey and left some Spy MacGuffin in her apartment which he tries to get but is… indisposed in the process, and it’s up to her delver whatever the heck it is to someone somewhere at a specific time! Easy enough, especially with her best friend by her side! Unfortunately, there are a lot of other people looking for whatever this is, including Sebastian and Duffer (Sam Heughan and Hasan Minhaj) who are working for at some sort of spy agency, a Super Assassin named Nadedja (Ivanna Sakhno) who’s been hired by someone MYSTERIOUS to take them out, and a bunch of motorcycle henchmen who are more than willing to fire live ammunition in busy streets to try and take out these two nobodies when a less blunt approach would PROBABLY work on these two. They’re not the best when it comes to detecting threats, nor should they considering neither one of them have even used a gun, let alone protected very important MacGuffins! Can Audrey and Morgan deliver this package before getting themselves murdered? Will they be able to save the world by taking this where it needs to go and will there a few double crosses along the way? Will this mission be even more impossible than making a good spy comedy!? Even Tom Cruise isn’t necessarily gonna get THAT right all the time!
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?
Masterminds and all the images you see in this review are owned by Relativity Media
Directed by Jared Hess
Oh hey, I remember this guy! Didn’t he do Napoleon Dynamite like a hundred years ago? Okay, maybe it wasn’t THAT long ago, but you can hardly say that he’s had a sterling career since then with Nacho Libre and Gentleman Broncos being poor follow ups to his breakout hit. Still, this one seems to be outside of his comfort zone, what with how many A-list comedians are on hand and the general tone of the film from the trailers, so maybe stretching himself as an artist will do him some good and he can wow us all once again with his immense talent! Hey, it’s POSSIBLE… right? Is this movie one of the standout comedies of the year that will remind us why we liked Jared Hess in the first place, or is this yet more proof that the dude peaked with his first film? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows lovable David Ghantt (Zach Galifianakis) who’s living the pathetic loser life in his shitty little town where no one respects him or even likes him all that much; even his fiancée (Kate McKinnon), but then she’s so cartoonishly off-putting that it’s hard to tell if she’s feeling anything at all. The dude seems perfectly fine to let things go this way and live out his life as a security guard for Loomis Fargo and have zero impact on the rest of the world. That is… until SHE came through the door. Kelly (Kristen Wigg) becomes a coworker of David’s and the two hit it off immediately, by which I mean he develops a massive crush on her and she gets her ass fired before she has a chance to really capitalize on it. Eventually though, she does come back into his life, only now she has someone with her. Steven Chambers (Owen Wilson) wants to use David to rob Loomis Fargo and plans on using his clear obsession with Kelly to get him to do it. Needless to say that David promptly agrees for that exact reason, and surprisingly the heist seems to work at first! They walk away with SEVENTEEN MILLION DOLLARS, David goes to Mexico while the heat dies down, and everyone else (including Kelly) for some reason stay in their shitty little town and try to lay low there. As with most crime movies though, things start to unravel, especially when FBI agents (Leslie Jones and Jon Daly) start to investigate those involved and a hit man (Jason Sudeikis) winds up in the mix. Will David get away with his crime and have all the money he could ever want? Will Kelly be able to save David from Steven who’s hell bent on keeping him out of their way permanently? How the hell did this stupid mother fucker get through airport security!?
Ghostbusters (2016) and Ghostbusters (1984) are both owned by Columbia Pictures
The new movie has finally come out we can all confirm that the world has not plunged into forty years of darkness, but while there have yet to be any reports of rivers and seas boiling or dogs and cats living together, there’s denying that we indeed saw some mass hysteria . Hopefully all that will subside soon enough, but those people have already gotten more attention than they deserve and it’s been difficult to keep everything in perspective as some people decided that the success or failure of this movie was going to be the crescendo in some childhood ruining man hating agenda, so trying to have a measured conversation about the strengths of both this new film and the original it’s based off of has not been an easy task. Thankfully we can hopefully start taking a measured look at both films’ individual merits and how one movie might have done somethings better than the other without having the more obnoxious among us either use it as proof that we are biased or evidence that the new movie is horrible. To kick that discussion off, here’s my own examination of both films and how one stacks up to the other based on important aspects that are in both films!
Who Ya Gonna Call? (The Crew)
This new movie made two fantastic decisions right off the bat. It was a reboot instead of a sequel, and they didn’t try to make these new characters analogues for the original crew. No one in this movie is a recreation of someone from the last film which means that we don’t have to play the WHO DID IT BETTER game on individual actors (a decision also wisely made by the Evil Dead reboot), and similarly I’m so glad that this new Ghostbusters team is not the trainees, or even worse THE DAUGHTERS, of the original crew which would have completely ruined what makes these new characters so interesting. Look, I’m well aware that this is a movie starring women that FIRST had to be done by men, but the fact that it’s not the case in the movie itself is an inspiring message to young girls to be proactive and forge their own paths. A lot of people who are upset about this movie seem to think it would have been better if this was a passing of the torch story which is a concept that worked pretty well for Star Wars, but there’s no way it would have worked here. At least in that movie there’s a whole universe to explore and the new people wouldn’t necessarily be in the shadows of the original cast allows them to do their own thing; something that would be infinitely harder here if the new Ghostbusters were still using the same logos, firehouse, equipment, jumpsuits, what have you that the original cast were wearing twenty years ago and everyone in the movie knew that. It wouldn’t be able to be its own thing as it would constantly be in the shadows of the original members who are still hanging around the background and would take attention away from the brilliant actors that are the real stars here.
Ghostbusters and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Paul Feig
No other movie this year, save MAYBE Batman v Superman, had as much drama and passion as this reboot of a classic eighties comedy. A very vocal minority of people were deadest on hating this from the word go with nothing more to go on than the idea that it would star women instead of men, and they haven’t shut the hell up about it since then; effectively drowning out any legitimate criticism that was levied against the movie. It’s true that this is a reboot and that Ghostbusters was a very much a movie of its time (not only in concept but also the fact that comedies just don’t have the same clout and reverence they did back in the eighties), but I was still genuinely interested in seeing this based on who they ended up casting and some of the better moments in the trailer. Does this manage to live up to the hype as a patriarch smashing masterpiece, or will it live up to the OTHER hype of being the worst possible thing to ever happen to anyone at any time in history? Probably neither, but is it at least good? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Columbia Physics professor Dr Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) being forced to confront an old colleague of hers, namely Dr Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) over a book they wrote years ago on the paranormal which she has since disowned but has recently resurfaced and may pose a threat to her bid for tenure at the university. Abbey never stopped her research and is angry at Erin for abandoning her those many years ago so she’s not too keen to help her out and has even gotten a new partner in crime in the form of super engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and they’re both trying to get evidence that ghosts really do exist. Opportunity comes a-knocking for all three of them however as Abby and Holtzmann (with Erin along for the ride trying to get Abby to take her name off the book) actually do run into a ghost and get footage of it on camera. Unfortunately, the video goes viral, Erin gets fired from the University, and all three of them can’t get anyone to believe the story. Still, this is some groundbreaking stuff they’ve uncovered, so they pool all their money together to begin a start-up company and relocate to the attic of a Chinese restaurant (a firehouse looked promising, but was WAY too expensive). As they perfect their craft and Holtzmann works on the weapons, they eventually meet Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) who saw a ghost at the subway station she works at and enlists the Ghostbusters to bust it before eventually joining the team, as does Kevin Beckman (chris Hemsworth) who becomes their secretary because no one else bothered to apply for the job. While all this is going on by the way, there’s some creepy dude named Rowan (Neil Casey) who seems to be setting up devices that amply the strength of ghosts that are already haunting various places in NYC and is clearly planning something much bigger. Can the Ghostbusters find out Rowan’s evil plan before it’s too late? Will the world even accept them as anything more than frauds and Ghost Hunter knock offs? Is there ANY chance that those determined to hate this movie will feel any different by actually watching it? I’m gonna guess no on that last one.
Finding Dory and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Well… I guess we’re back again. Pixar has gotten pretty passé for me recently and making a sequel to my least favorite of their movies that ISN’T a rip off of Maximum Overdrive is probably not gonna be what ends up turning them around for me. Still, the studio never makes a lazy movie (except for those G rated Christine films) so we can at least expect a certain level of quality from them, and maybe I’ll be a bit more receptive to their fish story this time around. Does it manage to bring back that Pixar magic that has gotten kinda dull and played out recently? Let’s find out!!
The movie takes place a year after the events of the first one (which I guess means this takes place in in the heydays of George W Bush and Nickelback) and since then Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) has been living with Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence). One day during their day to day life of… swimming I guess, Dory sees something that triggers a memory that had long been forgotten which is that she has parents and lost them many years ago; probably due to her short term memory condition. Now that she’s aware that her parents are out there somewhere, she manages to rope Marlin and Nemo into going with her to the last place she remembers being at before losing them forever which was somewhere in California. That somewhere just happens to be the Marine Life Institute which is a rescue center to provide care to, rehabilitate, and eventually release the sea creatures that they either catch or are sent to them for treatment. As you’d expect, Dory manages to separate herself from Marlin and Nemo who have to then FIND her, and while they’re doing that Dory meets up with an octopus named Hank (Ed O’Neill) who is willing to help her find whatever exhibit her parents are in if she’ll do something for him. See, Dory was sent to the medical wing and immediately got a tag put on her to send her to the Cleveland Aquarium because… I actually don’t know why come to think of it. The tags are only placed on fish that are too sick to survive in the open ocean, so… is there gonna be a really sad third movie coming out in ten years? Anyway, Hank wants to go to the Cleveland Aquarium but isn’t sick enough for them to send him off, so he’ll take her tag in exchange for carrying her around until they find her parents. Oh, and they’re on a timer because the truck to Cleveland leaves in the morning so Hank is not in the mood to mosey about take their sweet time. Will Dory manage to find her parents in this place? What about Marlin and Nemo? Are they gonna find her before… I guess something bad happens? Will Pixar ever get to The Incredibles 2!?
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!?
Ghostbusters and all the images you see in this trailer talk are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Paul Feig
If the internet wasn’t already bad enough for you, the announcement of a Ghostbusters movie with a female cast should have been enough to put it over the edge. For reasons that are bafflingly petty, there are still a number of dumbasses who hated this movie just on principal. The principal that… what, women suck? I don’t know and frankly I don’t want to know. This trailer though is the first chance that many of us will have to form an ACTUAL opinion on it rather than get blindly angry at it for no good god damn reason. Does the trailers assuage the fears of those who legitimately had some hesitations for this, or will this be a complete mess of a reboot like… eighty percent of other reboots are? Let’s find out!!
The trailer begins with that most sacred of reboot traditions; softly playing the original film’s theme over establishing shots that are accompanied by trailer text. The text by the way is somewhat misleading as it references the original film (thirty years ago, four scientists saved New York) despite nothing else in here indicating that the Ghostbusters existed prior to the events depicted here (an actual reboot instead of a pseudo sequel). The trailer proper is all about the origin of these four people coming together and as well as creating their equipment, though this could all just be some VERY creative editing on the marketing department’s part to hide anything that indicate them not being the first crew to carry the name. I really hope that this IS a full on reboot though because having the original movie or the original cast be a presence here is just going to overshadow who the real stars of the movie are. Speaking of which…