Sing 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Garth Jennings
Was anyone expecting the first Sing to be anything more than cloying and treacly? I mean it’s not like Illumination has a great track record for this kind of thing, especially with those toothless Seuss adaptations, but they somehow pulled it off with that movie which was sweet, sincere, and my favorite animated movie the year it came out! The moment that it was over though, I knew that a sequel was coming and that it was probably going to be a bad idea. The first one worked as its own story, so trying to fit another one on top of it seemed like typical sequel folly and an obvious attempt at a cash grab. Then again, it’s not like I was expecting anything out of the first one and it managed to surprise me, so why not the sequel as well? Can this movie capture the magic of the first film and give us the rare animated sequel that is just as satisfying as the first one, or should we just be glad that we got a good movie in the first place and write this one off as a mere victory lap from Illumination? Let’s find out!!
Following the events of the first film, the Moon Theater is back and better than ever! The all-star cast of Meena, Johnny, Rosita, and Gunter (Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton, Reese Witherspoon, and Nick Kroll) are living their dreams and selling out shows every night; all of which should make Buster (Matthew McConaughey) who owns the theater very happy, right? I mean that’s kind of the dream that they were all striving for in the first one! Well… no. Apparently, they all want to go to the Sing universe equivalent of Las Vegas and perform shows there; presumably next to furry versions of Blue Man Group and Carrot Top. After a talent scout (Chelsea Peretti) brushes them off, Buster drags his cast as well as Ash (Scarlett Johansson) to the big city to prove that scout wrong and appeal to the biggest producer in the city; Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Carnavale). Through some high-level schmoozing and a white lie here and there, he agrees to give them a shot; albeit it with quite a few strings attached. They have three weeks to throw together a lavish Broadway-style show from scratch, they have to include Crystal’s daughter Porsha (Halsey) in some way, and they need to find rock legend Clay Calloway (Bono) so he can be a part of the show. That last one, in particular, is going to be difficult as no one has seen or heard from him in fifteen years, but if Buster says he can get him, then by Jove, he’s gonna get him! Can the crew pull off yet another amazing show, even with the added pressures of a bigger production and an overbearing executive? What new challenges will our heroes face on their latest venture, and is this perhaps the end of the road for them? I mean it’s not like Buster has a habit of getting in over his head, right? Surely he knows what he’s doing!
The Grinch and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney
Is it already time for the holiday season? Can’t we postpone it for another three months or something? No, of course not. The only thing as certain in life as Death and Taxes is the ever expanding period of time known as THE HOLIDAY SEASON where good will and cheer are sold to us in gift baskets and wrapping paper. If you couldn’t tell already I’m not the biggest fan of the season’s greatest excesses even if I do take some joy in trying to find the perfect gifts for people and buying the shiny wrapping paper to put it in. Still, it’d be nice if we could contain it to the month of December, but no; were stuck with Holiday Music, Holiday Sales, and of course… Holiday Movies. With Illumination having already turned The Lorax into a rather detestable piece of confused anti-corporate nonsense, they’re back to the Dr. Seuss well to turn the man’s most beloved creation into yet another big screen adaptation just in time for theaters to start hanging up the tinsel. Will this be an improvement on the studio’s previous output, or are we in for yet more Illumination mediocrity? Let’s find out!!
You see, every Who down in Whoville likes Christmas a lot which is good for keeping the economy strong and red hot! But the Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) who lives just north of Whoville does not seem pleased. Perhaps a trip to the store will put him at ease. With his dog Max in tow, he treks through the snow, to the city of Whoville to where all he can think is NO. No to the consumerism, no to the cheer, just get him to the grocery store to buy provisions and beer. Along the way he meets Cindy Lou Who (Cameron Seely), who seems nice enough, but has nothing to do in this rather thin plot. There’s a story I guess about her finding Santa, but really she’s on hand to be cute and her likeness used on promotional bottles of Fanta. Anyway, The Grinch takes a while to get properly pissed, but he eventually decides that something is amiss. This lousy holiday just makes him way too stressed, so perhaps he’ll steal Christmas and you know the rest! Will he find happiness in ruining this day for others, or is there a way for him to live peacefully with his Who brothers? Will Cindy Lou Who find the answers she needs, or will her tale be lost in the script weeds? The question of course on everyone’s mind is why should I see this when Netflix is only $13.95!? No wait, it’s $13.99. DANG IT!!
Dope and all the images you see in this review are owned by Open Road Films
Directed by Rick Famuyiwa
We are smack dab in the middle of the summer blockbuster boom-a-thon where you can’t chuck a rock without it exploding and narrowly avoiding a recognizable character from a long running franchise. Who knows? Maybe the movie going public is ready for something other than dinosaurs and superheroes for about a week or so and this might just fill that necessary niche. No wait, they released it the same day as Inside Out. You’re telling me that this movie, from the director of a Carlos Mencia vehicle (Our Family Wedding), is trying to go up against a Pixar film!? If ANY movie had the balls to go up against the Mouse House, then this is either a film they just want to dump in theaters to get it over with, or something REALLY special that they are confident everyone will take notice of. Before my pessimism overwhelms you all, it might just fall into the latter category considering the very solid trailers and the fact that it was produced by Forest Whitaker (who was actually in Our Family Wedding) and Pharrell Williams who was also responsible for the soundtrack. Well it HAS to be better than Mac and Devin go to High School at least… right? Anyway, the movie is primary about Malcolm who is a high school student in Los Angeles with a 4.0 GPA and wants to get into Harvard. Not only that, but he’s also a huge nerd for nineties hip-hop and its aesthetic (just look at his flat top) which makes him an even more obvious target for bullying. One day, he ends up going to a drug dealer’s party which gets raided by the cops and he barely manages to escape with his friends and the love interest he was chasing after in the party. The next day at school though, he finds that the drug dealer managed to sneak a big ol’ bag of dope into his back pack and he has a bunch of angry mother fuckers looking for it. As circumstances begin to snowball, he and friends try to do whatever they can to get rid of the drugs without getting shot or thrown in jail.