How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) and all related materials are the property of Universal Pictures. All copyrighted material in this video essay are protected under fair used and are used for critical analysis and educational purposes.
Solo: A Star Wars Story and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Ron Howard
Well I guess we were destined to get one of these sooner than later, and all I can say is… I’m glad we at least aren’t starting with Boba Fett. I mean it looks like we’re getting one of those no matter what, but out of all the characters to get a prequel… Han isn’t dead last? Eh… look. Han Solo is FINE, but what exactly do we need to know about him that isn’t made readily apparent the first time we see him Mos Eisley Cantina? Then again, him being a smuggler almost makes him a perfect candidate for a decent action film as smugglers tend to get in more gun fights than say… a farm boy on Tatooine, but is that enough to sustain a Star Wars movie? Probably, at least for me, but let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Han (Alden Ehrenreich), who will soon be taking the surname Solo, on the planet Corellia hustling for his meals and dodging fellow street rats to keep himself alive. The only thing that keeps him going are his dreams of owning his own ship as well as his one true love Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) who is similarly stuck running con games in the back alleys of this crap hole planet, but fortune soon finds its way to them as Han finds something JUST valuable enough to get them both a one way ticket off this planet and to a new life! The good news is he manages to escape, but the bad news is that Qi’ra gets caught JUST at the last second which means that Han has to get a jump start on that whole “getting a ship and making boat loads of cash” thing so that he can come back for Qi’ra and they can live happily ever after! Hm… but what’s the best way to GET a spaceship in an Empire controlled section of the galaxy? Oh hey! Aren’t they CONSTANTLY recruiting new red shirts to take bullets and fail to hit their targets! Sounds like a good way to at least take the first step to earning a livable wage and get the training he needs to survive on his own! From there things get complicated as Han is not what you’d call a MODEL solider, and ends up with a band of smugglers (Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, and Jon Favreau) as well as a new Wookie friend of his named Chewbacca (Joonas Suotama). Funny story how they met, but I won’t spoil it here! So now that he has a crew to run with (after deserting the Empire) and a way to FINALLY make all that sweet cash he needs, he can set his sights on going back to save Qi’ra from whatever fate has befallen her in the years that he’s been gone, right? Well not exactly as things are ALWAYS more complicated than they seem, which includes a SUPER gangster named Dryden (Paul Bettany) who has a bone to pick with this little band of misfits, the ultimate fate of Qi’ra which is VERY different from what Han had imagined, and even a slick hot shot named Lando (Donald Glover) who’s always one step ahead and laughing about it the whole time! Can Han survive in this world of backstabbers, sharpshooters, and expert gamblers long enough to get his own ship and start a life with the woman he loves? Just what did the smugglers do to Dryden, and what chances do they have of ACTUALLY making it right again? How the heck do you even play holo-chess anyway!?
The Dark Tower and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Nikolaj Arcel
2007. That’s when the first rumblings of this movie’s production started to surface which it’s been LANGUISHING in cinematic limbo for a decade now. Remember when Ron Howard was gonna turn the Dark Tower into a simultaneous Television/Film experience? I sure do! Now I love me some Stephen King, but The Dark Tower was one of those things that I just let pass me by and it seemed like for a while there that Hollywood was going to do the same, but Sony decided to take this ball and cross it over the finish line in whatever state it ultimately ended up in. With so much going against this movie, from the hit or miss nature of Stephen King films, the troubled production which included three directors working on this over its ten year gestation, to even the fact that releasing a high concept fantasy movie in the modern cinematic landscape that ISN’T tied to a comic book, video game, or eighties cartoon is pretty much flirting with disaster at this point, is it possible that a GOOD movie managed to come out of all that strife and discord? Let’s find out!!
Despite what the trailers may tell you, the movie is ACTUALLY about a boy named Jake (Tom Taylor) who’s waking up every morning in a cold sweat due to his recurring dream about a man in black (Matthew McConaughey) and his horrifying sciencey magical experiments on children in hopes of destroying some giant tower. A DARK tower, if you will! He’s drawing images of what he dreams about every day (presumably in hopes of winning an Eisner once he puts all the pieces together) which along with his less than stellar coping skills over the death of his father has made him somewhat ostracized at school and has his mother very concerned. Too bad for them that his stories about evil wizards, rat people wearing human skins, and dead children turn out to be COMPLETELY TRUE as he finds a portal to another world where all this very odd stuff is happening. Gee, a misunderstood creative type who gets proven right in a Stephen King story!? WHO’D HAVE THOUGHT!? Anyway, from there he meets up with the GOOD GUY in his graphic novel who is Roland; THE LAST GUNSLINGER (Idris Elba). Now Roland wants to put a few right between The Man in Black’s icy blues eyes (mostly due to the whole making him THE LAST GUNSLINGER thing)and this kid with seemingly psychic powers (where have seen THAT before in a Stephen King book) might just be the key to finding the sneaky bastard once and for all! Can these two unlikely allies manage to stop The Man in Black from his evil schemes before he destroys THE DARK TOWER and the universe along with it? What does The Man in Black have in store for them once they find his EVIL lair? Could Idris Elba look any more BAD ASS than he does in this movie!?
Inferno and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Ron Howard
Oh hey! I guess this is the reason Tom Hanks has been around so much recently! His recent Saturday Night Live appearance was absolutely fantastic and honestly just what we needed during this very stressful time of the year. Now I thought The Da Vinci Code was a decent enough film, and while I haven’t seen the sequel Angels and Demons, it’s mostly due to laziness rather than a real lack of desire to see the further adventures of Robert Langdon; especially considering that Ron Howard is still helming these things. Can they manage to make decent thriller out of yet another Dan Brown novel, or has this series already grown stale? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with good ol’ Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) waking up in a hospital in Florence with a bleeding skull and no memory of how he ended up there or what the hell he’s doing in Italy in the first place. He doesn’t have much time to figure out what happened though as within minutes of him waking up, he’s attacked by a rouge police officer and only manages to escape with the help of the on duty nurse Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones). It doesn’t take long after looking through his personal affects that he’s trying to solve some mystery left by Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) who’s some asshole tech billionaire (oxymoron, I know) who’s SO concerned about overpopulation that he creates this super virus that will kill half the Earth’s population and will be release on the world in twenty four hours and FOR SOME REASON left a series of clues to find the damn thing so that Langdon can Sienna can stop him. Of course, the reason why they have to follow the clues instead of getting Jack Bauer to beat the location out of him is because dumbass jumped off a tower and went splat after being chased by World Health Organization agent Christopher Bouchard (Omar Sy) who was trying to stop him. Of course, the World Health Organization is ALSO after Langdon for some reason that probably has to do with that block of time that he cannot remember. So not only does he have to run from renegade cops, but also from the WHO that I guess will only slow him down on his quest to find where the virus is and how it will be released upon mankind. Can Robert solve this mystery despite recently suffering a head injury, and are the answers locked up in his slowly recovering mind? Will the World Health Organization get its shit together long enough to be of some ACTUAL use in this situation rather than getting in Langdon’s way? What is it with rich assholes thinking they can kill their way to a better world!?
Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Funny or Die
Directed by Jeremy Konner
If we’re gonna keep getting subpar dreck like Dirty Grandpa, The Fifth Wave, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, we might as well turn to the Internet for all our movie viewing needs… at least until Deadpool comes out, but AFTER that we can probably just hide away until March. So Funny or Die (the premiere site for famous comedians to post YouTube videos not on YouTube) has been secretly working on a Donald Trump movie and finally released it to the masses starring none other than Johnny Depp (the star of such classics as The Lone Ranger and A Nightmare on Elm Street) as the prominent business man in this adaptation of his most notorious literary contribution, The Art of the Deal. Does it manage to give us a satirical yet poignant look at the man who has taken over the public spotlight, or is this just a chance for even more people to jump on the Trump bandwagon before he flames out in the next couple of months? Let’s find out!!
The movie is presented to us as a Made for TV special (found by Ron Howard in a yard sale) that Donald Trump (Johnny Depp) directed, edit, and starred in among other duties he takes credit for that is a somewhat autobiographical tale based on his best-selling book The Art of the Deal (second only to the Bible in number of sales apparently). The framing device for Trump to espouse his philosophy on business as well as tales of his prior accomplishments is a kid who steals a copy of his book from a display and just so happens to evade the security guard by ducking into Trump’s office who takes this opportunity to mentor the boy for an afternoon. It just so happens to also be Trump’s fortieth birthday and his one goal in life (at least according to this movie) is the purchase of the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City from Merv Griffin (Patton Oswalt) who’s not too keen to sell to the big blowhard… I mean brilliant business man. As Donald continues to try and goad Merv into selling, he goes on and on about his accomplishments with accompanying flashbacks and even gets his lawyer (Alfred Molina) to chime in every once in a while to reassure the kid of just how awesome of a life the orange demi-god standing before him has led. Will Donald get his hands on the Taj Mahal before the day is over? Will the kid learn a valuable lesson about business and negotiations along the way? Could anyone imagine a better time to release this than THE DAY that Trump won the New Hampshire primary!?