Coming 2 America and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios
Directed by Craig Brewer
Coming to America is not a movie I have much nostalgia for. I didn’t see it until I was well into my twenties and while I found it amusing it wasn’t exactly an all-time classic for me, so while I’m not giddy with anticipation to see where Prince Akeem ended up thirty years later, I shouldn’t be particularly bummed if it doesn’t live up to the original. Frankly, the Eddie Murphy from my childhood peaked with Dr. Doolittle as I didn’t see any of his classic movies until I was much older, and it’s only been in the last few years that he’s buckled down and tried to be more discerning with his roles so perhaps this will take to heart the harsh lessons he learned over the last few decades and will actually be something true to the spirit of the original and to the comedy legend that he was at the time! Yeah okay, I don’t think that’s going to be the case either (especially with them putting a 2 in the title), but let’s find out!!
Prince Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy), the soon to be king of Zamunda, has been living the last thirty years in luxury and bliss with his wife Lisa (Shari Headley) and their three daughters (KiKi Layne, Bella Murphy, and Akiley Love) in the beautiful palace that I’m sure is not an opulent eyesore and a constant reminder of wealth inequality in the region! Surely not when they are being menaced by the neighboring warlord General izzi (Wesley Snipes) who wants his own son to be married to Akeem’s oldest. After all, the law says No Chicks Allowed and therefore a woman can’t be the leader, so perhaps Akeem’s happy little life is about to get quite complicated. As luck would have it however, the King (James Earl Jones) has been keeping a secret from Akeem as it turns out he has a son living in Queens that he conceived during his trip there thirty odd years ago. Must have happened when we weren’t looking I guess. We were probably all getting more popcorn. So Akeem, with the help of his loyal aide Semmi (Arsenio Hall) must return to the United States and bring his son back to be groomed as the next Prince and eventual heir to the throne; something that doesn’t sit right with his eldest daughter who was hoping to find a way to ascend to the throne as well as his wife who’s a bit perturbed that he conceived a child about a week before they started dating. His son Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) has his own reservations as it’s a pretty sweet deal to be plucked out of obscurity to become a big shot, but being a Prince isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be even if it means the easy life for his mother (Leslie Jones) and his uncle (Tracy Morgan). Will Prince Akeem be able to ascend to the throne as King with a competent heir by his side, or will the culture shock for Lavelle be too great for him and his family to handle? What will General Izzi do now that his master scheme is about to be unraveled, and will Lavelle suffer the consequences of his newly found father’s machinations? Or will it be about none of that and everyone will spend most of the movie spouting lines from the first one?
The Angry Birds Movie 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Thurop Van Orman
We only got one shot at the Super Mario Bros in the last twenty five years, yet THIS manages to get a sequel? I actually LIKED that Mario movie, which just goes to show that Hollywood is out to get me specifically; though I can’t imagine why since I’m SUCH an agreeable and charming fellow! Anyway, the first movie left me feeling pretty bitter so there’s not a single part of me that is looking forward to see the further adventures of Boring Red, Danny McBoom, and Fast Olaf, but sitting here dreading the darn thing isn’t gonna get us anyway, so let’s put on a brave face and try to meet this film halfway! Can the sequel meet or perhaps even exceed the low bar that the original movie set, or is hoping for even that much just setting myself up for disappointment? Let’s find out!!
Following the events of the first film where Red (Jason Sudeikis) became a hero to Bird Island by driving away the Pigs, the two islands are at something of a standstill with each of them pulling pranks and launching food at one another in an attempt to see which island can get the most annoyed. Red is overjoyed by this since being the hero who fought the pigs is now his full time job as he along with Chuck and Boom (Danny McBride and Josh Gadd) spend every waking moment coming up with new schemes, retaliating against attacks, and giving speeches to the citizens of Bird Island. That’s all about to change however as a THIRD island starts to float into the middle of the conflict which is head up by Zeta (Leslie Jones); an Eagle on an island of ice who throws ice balls at people just because she’s angry that her island is full of ice. She could just take a vacation to one of the adjacent islands, but nope! Massive ice balls that surely crush whatever living thing ends up beneath them! The pigs are the first one to notice the threat and King Leonard (Bill Hader) offers a truce to the citizens of Bird Island who are all happy to finally be done with this prank war… except for Red who now has to get a real job I guess and find people who like him for reasons other than being the maroon messiah. Well I guess if being the brave warrior who defeated the pigs isn’t cutting it anymore, than recklessly leading the charge against the eagles is the next best thing! Along with Chuck, Boom, and King Leonard, they recruit Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), Courtney the pig (Awkwafina), gadgets expert Garry (Sterling K Brown), and Chuck’s hereto unmentioned sister Silver (Rachel Bloom) to aid in their plot to destroy Zeta’s super ice weapon, but are the ready to face such a dangerous and flamboyant threat? Can they save both islands without betraying one another or just screwing up due to their own incompetence? Are we sure we can’t just let Zeta take over the islands? Maybe it’s just me, but I think we should at least give her a chance!
Sing and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Garth Jennings
It seems that Illumination’s business model is to just hammer us over and over again with constant advertisements and marketing pushes for whatever movie that will soon (and not so soon) be hitting theaters. We see it with The Minions invading everything from ironic T-shirts to toilet brushes, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who got REAL sick of those Secret Life of Pets trailers about four months before the damn movie came out. At least with Sing, Illumination had a decent enough premise on its hand and the trailers only got better as time went on. Still, that’s the same strategy that Suicide Squad had, and while I didn’t HATE it, the trailers were clearly selling a film that the ACTUAL movie couldn’t live up to. Will that be the case here with Illuminations latest effort to take over the world with marketable CG characters, or is there something genuinely great here from a studio that’s only made fluff so far? Let’s find out!!
The movie is rather simple as it’s about a theater owning koala named Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) who gets desperate enough to rip off American Idol and naturally becomes the talk of the town once he holds open auditions. Our heroes are a gorilla with daddy issues named Johnny (Taron Egerton), a housewife pig named Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) who’s right out of the Marge Simpson School of quiet desperation, a shy but talented elephant named Meena (Tori Kelly), and a too cool for school porcupine named Ash (Scarlett Johansson) who’s relationship with her boyfriend is being strained by this competition. I guess I should also mention Mike the Mouse (Seth MacFarlane), but calling him a hero is a bit of a stretch as he’s the one who REALLY wants to win by any means necessary. Of course, noting goes quite as well as it should, what with Buster’s finances in total disarray and his talent dealing with their own problems at home that threaten to derail this singing competition as much as Buster’s inability to keep the lights on. Will this competition be exactly what Buster needs to save his theater and what everyone else needs to change their lives for the better? What kind of shenanigans does Mike have up his tiny sleeves that can cause big problems for everyone else? Is anyone else feeling a distinct lack of Billy Joel in this movie filled with so many oldies!?
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.
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…