No Time to Die and all the images you see in this review are owned by United Artists Releasing
Directed by Cary Fukunaga
Even without the year-long delay caused by a global Pandemic, there was a pretty long wait between this film and the last one which didn’t exactly fill me with confidence as Spectre turned out to be rather disappointing, and this coupled with Craig’s public comments about continuing to play the part made it hard to assume anything other than a troubled production as a studio scrambled to find out where they went wrong after Skyfall was such an overwhelming success. That, and the Bond franchise is not exactly known for quality swansongs for their stars. I mean I liked Diamonds Are Forever quite a bit, but that’s still a ludicrous movie to end the Connery era, and A View to A Kill is only saved from being the worst of the Moore era by Octopussy being such a disaster right before it. Heck, even Pierce Bronson’s final film is so off the wall that some speculate it’s all just a dream sequence! So yeah, with a disappointment preceding it, a wonky track record for the franchise, and a five-year production cycle when the Craig films usually only needed three, there were a lot of auspicious signs even without COVID coming to upend the entire film industry! Still, you can never count James Bond out as every failure inevitably leads to another success down the road, and the Craig era has been a definite standout in the franchise’s fifty-year history. Does Craig’s final film buck the conventions and become a standout in an already impressive run, or will we need to wait for another Bond to bring this series back to life? Let’s find out!!
Following the events of Spectre, James Bond and Madeline Swann (Daniel Craig and Léa Seydoux) are enjoying their hard-fought victory over Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Chrstoph Waltz), but as with any Spy story, paranoia starts to creep in and an attack from Spectre leads James to believe that once again he has been betrayed by the woman he loves. With little ceremony and huge amounts of salt, James cuts Madeline out of his life and spends the next five years bumming around on a beach until an MI6 scientist (David Dencik) is kidnapped with a secret weapon that MI6 VERY much doesn’t want to get out into the world, but even more so wants to keep it under wraps. M, Moneypenny, Q, and the new 00 Agent Nomi (Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, and Lashana Lynch) are doing what they can but Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) of the CIA is well aware of what’s going on and convinces Bond to come back for one more mission and perhaps show the new recruits Logan and Paloma (Billy Magnussen and Ana de Armas) a thing or two about this line of work. All is not as straightforward as it seems however as the kidnapped scientist is just the smallest tip of the ice burg for a mysterious plot devised by an even more mysterious man (Rami Malek) that is in some way connected to Madeline. Can James Bond return to the life he left behind for one last mission, or has the years of hard drinking and heartbreak taken their toll? Was Madeline a deep agent the whole time for whomever this mysterious man is and Bond was right to mistrust her? Never mind the NEW bad guy; what’s Blofeld up to these days? Has he gotten that eye looked at?
Dolittle and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Stephen Gaghan
My GOODNESS have studios been putting out some high priced nonsense recently! We are definitely stuck in the Billion Dollar Blockbuster Bubble where every studio wants nothing but the most expensive movies to maximize their profits, but as is the nature with bubbles all the money Is usually dried up by the time everyone else tries to get in on it which is why Disney is still sitting pretty on their mountain of gold and everyone else is making stuff like Cats and that awful Tarzan movie. With this being the current trend, someone making an overpriced adventure film about Dr. Doolittle feels almost inevitable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be bad! I LOVE me some overpriced entertainment like Jupiter Ascending and Final Fantasy XIII, so maybe Dr. Doolittle being played by Iron Man and co-starring a wrestler as a CGI polar bear is just what I need to cleanse the palate and finally kick off the GOOD parts of 2020 which so far has been pretty plodding at the multiplex! Is this retelling of the classic story the start of another beloved blockbuster franchise, or are we in for a disaster to rival even that of Cats!? Let’s find out!!
Taking place AFTER what I presume is the actual Dr. Dolittle story, we find that the intrepid physician who can talk to animals (Robert Downey Jr) has gone fully Will Wonka and is holed up inside his giant wildlife preserve; refusing to see any visitors, human or otherwise. That all changes when one day, out of PURE LUCK, he gets TWO visitors who insist on seeing him! The first is Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) who is on assignment from the Queen despite being all of twelve years old, and Tommy (Harry Collett) who shot a squirrel and has brought the wounded creature to Dolittle because he feels bad. Lady Rose is there to inform him that the Queen is dying and requires his help which he reluctantly agrees to, and determines that she’s dying of McGuffin’s Disease which can only be cured by a fabled fruit on an uncharted island, so he takes some of his animals friends (Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, and Octavia Spencer just to name a few) on a boat to get the fruit and save the Queen; hoping that once this is finished he can go back to brooding in his house all day. Oh, and Tommy is coming along too because… he loves animals too I guess? Will the Dolittle Crew get to the magic fruit in time to save the Queen? What challenges will they face along the way, and will some of it be intentional sabotage? If one of the cats from Cats was in this movie, would Dolittle be the only one who could talk to it!?
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by Mike Mitchell
Everyone loved The LEGO movie, right!? And then most people loved LEGO Batman, right!? And then LEGO Ninjago was… okay, right? Well now it’s time for the return of the one that started it all and it’ll be JUST as good as the original… right? Sigh… okay, so the trailers for this film haven’t filled me with a whole lot of confidence that it’ll be on the same level as the original film. It looks FINE if nothing else, but this is THE LEGO MOVIE! We don’t just want fine, we want PHENOMENAL! Then again, maybe that’s putting too much pressure on this film which doesn’t have the benefit of being such an out of the blue surprise, and while the trailers aren’t inspiring me with a lot of hope, maybe they’ll find a new angle to take it in that’ll make up for not being able to put the genie back in the bottle! Can this sequel be Justas good if not better than the first film, or has the LEGO phenomenon finally run its course? Let’s find out!!
Immediately following the events of the first movie, the Duplo aliens of the Systar System have waged an all-out war with the people of LEGO city for five whole years and have left it a Mad Max style barren wasteland with no more bright and shiny blocks. ONLY DARKNESS AND NO PARENTS!! Well except for Emmet (Chris Pratt) whose upbeat attitude cannot be damped even in the face of utter annihilation! That turns out to be a problem though as the nice house he built has attracted the Duplos once again and now they’ve taken all his friends from the first movie which includes Lucy AKA Wyldstyle, Batman, Benny, Princess Unikitty, and MetalBeard (Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, and Nick Offerman) back to their home planet for their own nefarious purposes that we soon learn to be a shotgun wedding between Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi of the Systar System (Tiffany Haddish) and a very reluctant Batman. Clearly something has to be done to save them, but the only one of the LEGO people willing to take the chance is Emmet who haphazardly travels through… space I guess, to find them. Along the way he is saved from an asteroid field by the dashing rouge Rex Dangervest (also Chris Pratt) and his army of super smart velociraptors who agree to help Emmet on his journey to defeat the girly Systar invaders because being a TOUGH GUY means punching things that are pink and frilly! Can Emmet save his friends from Systar invaders who want to brainwash all of his friends and put Batman through a forced marriage!? Can Lucy escape from the Queen Watevra’s cunning grasp, and does she know something about this place that she isn’t telling the others? Is it just me, or did things get REALLY complicated for a movie about plastic toys?
Holmes & Watson and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Etan Cohen
Oh goody! Will Ferrell and John C Reilly are teaming up once again to make a silly comedy! That’s gonna be GREAT, right!? RIGHT!? Okay fine, they don’t have THE BEST track record out there, but I still don’t want to dismiss this out of hand! I mean… I probably SHOULD, considering how… not very good the trailer was, but those don’t always faithfully represent the full movie, and they wouldn’t just dump this right in the middle of a VERY busy time of the year just to die a quiet death, right!? Well I guess we’re gonna have to see if that’s the case, though for both of their sakes as box office draws, I hope they put quite a bit of effort into this one. Does this send up of Sherlock Holmes manage to capture the spirit of the books while also making a laugh out loud comedy, or is this a joke that’s way too late to the party and would have been an utter embarrassment even if it WAS timely? Let’s find out!!
Sherlock Holmes (Will Ferrell) is somehow England’s greatest detective despite being an utter fool who makes obvious mistakes over and over again, but I guess he’s got a good hype man in his partner John Watson (John C Reilly) who seems to be keeping at least some of his worst tendencies in check while also pumping him up to the general public through his novels about their various crime solving adventures. However, this latest caper involving a murder at Buckingham Palace and the threat of death upon The Queen (Pam Ferris) if Sherlock doesn’t find the killer first is just the kind of mystery that will put his mind and their friendship through the ultimate test! Complicating matters is the fact that Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes) is still at large but may have fled to the Americas as well as a new doctor in town Rose Hudson (Kelly MacDonald) as well as her… assistant I guess, Millie (Lauren Lapkus), who have both captured the hearts of our dynamic duo. Will Sherlock be able to crack the case before this mystery tears him AND his straining friendship with Watson apart at the seams? Will Watson finally get the nerve to demand more respect and an equal title as co-detective with Sherlock who is notoriously egotistical and not one to share the spotlight? Is it even possible for THE GREATEST DETECTIVE ALIVE to get to the bottom of how this utter fiasco made it into theaters!?
The Lego Batman Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Chris McKay
Let’s see… you take something awesome like The LEGO Movie, and you add more Will Arnett. How could this POSSIBLY fail!? I mean granted, adding Will Arnett to ANYTHING is an automatic improvement (unless it’s Bojack Horseman), but considering what we’ve gotten from the DC canon since Nolan’s second movie, how could we NOT be excited when one of those movies isn’t fraught with astounding mismanagement and crushing solemnity!? Does this offshoot of The LEGO movie prove to be a success while laying the groundwork for other LEGO based offshoots, or has Warner Bros utter mismanagement of the DC licenses somehow managed to spread to this colorful and vibrant take on the characters? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about Batman being Batman and everyone getting really sick about it, and I can certainly relate to that. More specifically, Batman (Will Arnett) has just locked away a whole bunch of villains for what has to be the millionth time, but something’s a little bit different. While The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) managed to escape like he usually does, Batman managed to hurt his feelings by claiming he’s NOT his arch-enemy, so now he’s got a NEW axe to grind with the caped crusader. On top of that, Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) has just become the new commissioner and is somewhat skeptical about letting some sociopath with silly ears and a cape beating up poor people and other weirdos in the streets of Gotham which makes SENSE but isn’t all that comforting to Batman who’s already having enough trouble finding things to do in what little spare time he has NOW; let alone how much he’d have if the police department started doing their jobs right under Barbara’s new rule. To cap things off, he JUST SO HAPPENS to adopt a young boy named Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) which you’d THINK would require just a LITTLE bit of paperwork, but I guess the Orphanage could use the extra bed; especially considering how many kids they have to take in considering how many supervillains are blowing shit up around the city. ANYWAY! Batman, who’s been avoiding his feelings all this time by punching baddies in the face now has to deal with that one thing we all fear… CHANGE! Will he be able to keep his cool now that the status quo has been upended? Just what does The Joker have planned now that he’s even MORE pissed at Batman than usual? Is it too soon to reboot the DC films and just make them all based on toys?
Kubo and the Two Strings and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features
Directed by Travis Knight
While Disney and Dreamworks are constantly fighting over dominance for CG animated features, studios like Aardman and Laika are still making an argument for more traditional forms of animation with films like Paranorman and The Pirates. Now we’ve got this movie which hopes to stand alongside some of the bigger hits this summer like Finding Dory and The Secret Life of Pets while also finding a spot in theaters just as the latter is starting to leave and Pete’s Dragon is under performing. Can the latest Laika creation not only manage to be an excellent film but be the big hit to end the summer with, or is this movie all style and no substance? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows young Kubo (Art Parkinson) who’s living with his mother in a cave that’s within walking distance of a nearby village. Why are they living there? Well apparently Kubo’s mother is the daughter of some super powerful dude known as the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) who can do… stuff. Okay, I’m not sure what his powers are, but he ripped out one of Kubo’s eyes when he was an infant, and his mother just barely managed to get away with him; though at a severe price as she was injured during the escape and now suffers from memory loss. That only leaves Kubo to take care of her (though I’m not sure how they survived long enough for him to be able to do that) and he makes money by using his magic powers to put on fantastic origami shows for the people of the village. Seriously, Kubo’s got some badass magic powers that he’s able to conjure up with his Shamisen which can put on very elaborate stop-motion performances by Origami dolls, and you’d think that powers like this would either earn him enough to move his mom into a nice home or would brand him as a witch. Still, things seems to be going well as Kubo goes about his day to day life busking for coins on the sidewalk, when he stays out too late one night which gives the Moon King a chance to find him (I guess that guy can see everything at night) and sends out his daughters, who are also Kubo’s aunts (Rooney Mara), to find him. Kubo’s mother however manages to find him first and uses her remaining magic to send him off somewhere else while also bringing a charm to life in the form of a monkey (Charlize Theron) because apparently Kubo’s mother can do that. From there, we’ve got a whole lot more exposition as apparently the monkey knows what Kubo needs to do next and the end up finding a Beetle Samurai (Matthew McConaughey) to tag along on their adventure. Can Kubo stop his evil grandfather and save his mother? How exactly does this monkey know all this stuff if it’s only been alive for like a day or so? Most importantly, how many MacGuffins do they plan to stick in this movie!?
Hail, Caesar! and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen
Now that January is finally out of the way, we can get to the GOOD movies, right? Well… February isn’t exactly the best month for movies EITHER what with Valentine’s day being an invitation to release terrible rom coms, but then we ARE dealing with the Coen Brothers who have a pretty damn good track record when it comes to movies. Is this going to be another classic film in their catalogue, or is way below their usual standard of excellence and just be a decent film? Let’s find out!! The movie follows around Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) who is the head of Capitol Pictures and an all-around problem solver for everyone who works there. He makes sure the bills get paid and that the movies stay under budget, but he also pulls actors out of embarrassing situations, pays police to stay quiet, and that Capitol Pictures keeps a respectable image despite the chaos that is brought before him each and every day. The day that the film takes place on turns out to be an eventful one as Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) who is the star of the studio’s biggest film, Hail Caesar, has been kidnapped. Not only that, but another big star at the studio DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) is having a baby out of wedlock which Eddie needs to find a way to cover up, and another one of the movies on the lot needs a lead actor but the only guy available is Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) who has only starred in cowboy pictures and they need him to somehow act in a classy movie about New York socialites. Will Eddie be able to deal with these problems and more as the day goes on? Will the world finally get an idea of just how mad the movie business is, or can Eddie keep everything on the down low despite several reports prying into the studio’s affairs? Do we get to see Josh Brolin slap the shit out of George Clooney!?
Spectre and all the images you see in this review are owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia Pictures
Directed by Sam Mendes
Has it really been three years since Skyfall!? That movie was absolutely fantastic, wasn’t it? Well now the same crew (minus Roger Deakins) is back to give us the next entry in the James Bond franchise! Will they be able to make another fantastic entry in the long running franchise, or will this fail to live up to the massive expectations that Skyfall left us with? Let’s find out!!
As expected, the movie is about the lovable spy James Bond (Daniel Craig) and his latest efforts to find the mysterious organization that’s been hunting him and causing chaos from behind the shadows! I though they already figured out it was Quantum, but whatever. After a VERY explosive mission in Mexico, he’s one step closer to finding this evil organization but problems arise when it turns out he went out on his own without MI6 approval. This is particularly troubling for the organization (and M played by Ralph Fiennes) due to the government still wanting to shut them down which you may recall being a subplot in the previous film. In its place, the government wants to establish a worldwide surveillance program that’s being headed up by Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott) who seems just a bit too eager to get Bond out the way. Bond once again goes out on his own (has he listened to anyone since maybe Casino Royale?) to follow up on his leads to find whoever it is that’s pulling the strings behind recent events and is probably controlling Quantum, though that’s still a bit unclear. Will Bond discover what this organization is that they spoil in the title? Will he find the mastermind behind this (Christoph Waltz) who we’ve been told is NOT Blowfeld but who the hell else would be the head of Spectre? Will James Bond finally get to the bottom of something without having to kill every lead he has!? It’s probably gonna be a no on that last one.