The Super Mario Bros. Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Aaron Horvath & Michael Jelenic
I’m not sure how clear I’ve been about this in the past, but this is kind of a big deal for me because I’ve been a Mario fan for as long as I’ve known that video games existed. To this day I lean towards Nintendo consoles, and while I haven’t finished Odyssey quite yet, I’ve at least finished all the primary 3D console games of which this adaptation is taking a lot of its inspiration. Needless to say that I will have far more thoughts on this than I should have, and in order to express them all I’m going back to my classic overlong format just in case you were all getting far too used to my newer snappier style. Given the decades of hype and speculation around the idea of a proper Mario movie, is there any hope of Illumination rising to the challenge and delivering the best video game movie ever made, or do we need to lower our expectations to something a little more reasonable given the studio’s particular brand of middle-of-the-road family entertainment? Let’s find out!!
Mario and Luigi (Chris Pratt and Charlie Day) are two Brooklyn plumbers who have just started their own business and are ready to make it big! Sadly the duo doesn’t have much luck as shenanigans abound, and a flood in the city leads them to some magical green pipes that transport them to the fantastical Mushroom Kingdom. Well, at least Mario gets sent there while Luigi gets sent to The Dark Lands and winds up as a prisoner of King Bowser (Jack Black) who is the big bad around here and is looking to take over the kingdom by dethroning Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy). With Mario looking to save his brother and Peach needing some muscle for her upcoming war with Bowser, the two strike a bargain to help each other as they head to the Jungle Kingdom to enlist the help of the Kongs. Will Peach and Mario be able to save the kingdom and Luigi from Bowser’s terrifying machinations? Can Mario learn the ins and outs of this world and become its greatest champion like John Carter and Flash Gordon before him? What’s really driving this Koopa tyrant in his quest to take over the world, and does he sing a song about it?
Tag and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Jeff Tomsic
I don’t know about you, but I really liked the trailer to this when it started to go around! It was a clever enough premise to be sure, and there’s a really decent cast behind it; particularly Jeremy Renner who may have gotten screwed out of Infinity War but at least gets a nice juicy starring role here! Does Benedict Cumberbatch get as much screen time in that movie as he’ll get here? I sure as heck doubt it!! In a year that’s certainly had its ups and downs as far as comedies (Blockers on the high end, Gringo on the low), will this be another standout to tip the year in to the GOOD side, or will this fail to live up to the expectations we got from such a good trailer? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the adventures of Hogan, bob, Randy, and Kevin (Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, and Hannibal Buress) who are four lifelong friends that have managed to stay close over the last thirty years by playing tag for the entire month of May with the man left as IT at the end of the month being saddled with shame for the rest of the year. Oh, but it’s all in good fun, right!? Well, there’s actually one more friend in the group named Jerry (Jeremy Renner) who’s NEVER been tagged in all the years they’ve played the game; to the point that it’s downright scary. Dude has Sherlock Holmes powers where he can see everything go in slow motion, and he has the cat like reflexes of a superhero that might be popular but expendable enough that they won’t call him EVERY time the group assembles. To make matters worse, it seems that Jerry plans on retiring at the end of this season and Hogan is more determined than ever to finally lay his hand upon his friend and confer the status of IT to him once and for all; breaking his streak and proving himself to be the best tag player of them all! However, Jerry has thrown a clever little wrench into Hogan’s plans by putting his own wedding right at the end of the month which will hopefully deter the crew from their mad pursuit; at least long enough to not ruin the big day for his fiancée (Leslie Bibb) and make it THAT much easier for him to retain the title. Will Hogan and his heroes (along with his wife played by Isla Fisher) manage to stop the reign of Jerry once and for all? Just how far will they go to tag him, and how far will Jerry go to NOT be tagged? If any of this is supposedly based on a true story, how are NONE of these people dead!?