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!
Rocketman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Dexter Fletcher
As much as I enjoy the music of Elton John, this movie has some serious hurdles to overcome, that has left me less than confident about it up to this point. Primarily, the film feels from top to bottom like a cash-in following the success of the truly awful Bohemian Rhapsody; not just because it’s another biopic about a musician from roughly the same time period, but because they even got the pickup director of that film to make this one in its entirety. Maybe that’s overstating things a bit as Dexter Fletcher does have a few other films under his belt, and it’s not like it’ll be THAT hard to be better than one of the worst movies of 2018, but let’s just say my expectations are firmly set to MEH right up until the very last minute. Does this manage to stand out as the better of the two rock biopics from the Oldies station, or will the faults of Bohemian Rhapsody look downright quaint after seeing this movie? Let’s find out!!
Elton John (Taron Egerton), also known as Reginald Dwight, is a rock and roll superstar with hit song after hit song over the last five decades, yet how many of us REALLY know about the man behind the music? Well after storming his way into a substance abuse support group (decked out in full on Maleficent regalia in case you thought this was going to be subtle), he’s more than willing to tell us all about it! Our story begins in the suburbs of Britain with him as a little boy starved for affection from his mother and father (Bryce Dallas Howard and Steven Mackintosh), when one day it turns out he’s a born piano player who can play songs from ear and hones his skills for many, many, years! After a few stints playing back-up for a bunch of soul bands, he finally finds his break in the form of Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) who is a song writer in need of a musician which is just in luck because Mr. John over here needs a song writer to give meaning to his great music! From there it’s a never ending thrill ride of overnight success, burgeoning sexuality, and the inevitable crash and burn when living the high life becomes indistinguishable from being an addict! Will Elton John get his life back on track after losing so much to booze, pills, and drugs? Can a musician of his immense popularity live his life openly as a gay man without shattering everything he’s worked so hard to build up? Will we get answers to burning questions like who IS the Tiny Dancer, and why were those Crocodiles rocking?
Robin Hood and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate
Directed by Otto Bathurst
Oh BOY is this gonna be a good one! Can’t you just feel it!? The trailers have looked awful, no one is talking about this and if they are it’s not in a positive light, and they’re just dumping this against a huge nostalgic franchise on Thanksgiving! Lionsgate clearly believes they have a bomb on their hands here and from everything they’ve deigned to show us I can’t entirely disagree, but then there are a lot of movies that didn’t have the full confidence of their studio yet still turned out great, from my beloved Jupiter Ascending to even the cult classic Donnie Darko! Will this be another example of a good movie stuck with bad marketing and a poorly timed release date? Yeah, probably not, but let’s find out!!
Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) is some rich punk in the town of Nottingham who meets her true love Marion (Eve Hewson) trying to steal a horse from him. Eh, he’s rich. Possessions are utterly meaningless to him anyway. They’re have a whirlwind romance through montage which is abruptly brought to an end when it turns out that the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) has drafted him to join the crusades. Okay… I thought the armies retaking the Holy Land were volunteers, but I guess if the Sheriff of Nottingham wanted Robin out of the city that he could pull some strings and force him into service. Wait, why does the Sheriff of Nottingham want him gone? Oh whatever. During his military service he manages to be THE BEST SOLIDER EVER but also TOO SWEET to survive in such a place, so after trying to save a captured POW from being executed, he’s non-fatally shot by his CO and sent back to England. Surprise for Robin though, the father of the POW who he tried to save stowed away and wants to use him to take down the oppressive system in Nottingham, and after a pretty racist joke about foreigners having WACKY names, he starts going by the name John (Jamie Foxx). It doesn’t take much to convince Robin to join this fight since The Sheriff literally stripped away every last valuable from his home (including his parents I assume) as well as punched a bunch of holes in the walls, and on top of that Marion was told that he had died and is now married to some dude named Will (Jamie Dornan). With all this rich white boy angst, Robin begins to steal from the rich and give to the poor which soon earns his alter ego a nickname; THE HOOD! Will Robin and John manage to smash Medieval Capitalism (which I guess is Serfdom here?) and create a socialist Utopia in the heart of thirteenth century England!? What is The Sheriff’s REAL beef with him and the people of this town, and is he planning something more sinister than just taking all their stuff? Is it just me, or is a lot of this sounding very familiar!?
Kingsman: The Golden Circle and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Kingsman kind of came out of nowhere and surprised everyone with just how big of a hit it became, but then again that’s kind of the most notable thing about Matthew Vaugh’s career so far. Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, and Kingsman were all movies that no one really expected to become huge hits, but he managed to turn all three into huge money makers and even garnered quite a bit of critical praise in the process! Now he’s attempting the one thing that so few directors have been able to pull off which is to make a successful sequel to one of his own films; something that even the best directors aren’t always able to pull off (*cough* The Lost World *cough*)! Will this be yet another unexpected hit from a director who’s known for making those, or is this a challenge that will prove insurmountable even for someone as talented as Matthew Vaughn!? Let’s find out!!
The movie picks up some time after the ending of the first film where The Kingsman Organization is thriving under new leadership and Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is living the super awesome secret agent life while also dating Princess Tildae (Hanna Alström) who was the princess he saved in his last adventure. Now obviously things can’t stay this way for long (lest this be a rather uneventful movie), as Eggsy’s past comes back to haunt him with the sudden reappearance of Kingsman dropout Charles (Edward Holcroft) who somehow survived the events of the last film and proceeds to set off a chain reaction of events that completely decimates the Kingsman Organization; even managing to kill agent Lancelot in the process (Sophie Cookson). With nothing left and the world facing an imminent threat from an organization known only as The Golden Circle, led up by Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), the remaining Kingsman members (pretty much just Eggsy and Merlin played by Mark Strong) must turn to their American Counterparts known as The Statesmen in order to fight against whatever nefarious schemes Poppy and Charles have planned. Can Eggsy save the world yet again despite having lost so much already? Can the Statesmen be trusted to work with the remaining Kingsman members, or do they have a secret agenda of their own? Seriously, how the hell do they write themselves out of a bullet to the head in order to bring back Collin Firth!?
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!?
Eddie the Eagle and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Dexter Fletcher
Despite some films that are clearly going to be awful coming through the pipeline soon (*cough* Gods of Egypt *cough* Brothers Grimsby *cough*), I think it’s safe to say that the New Year Doldrums are coming to end as we’ve been getting some pretty sold films lately like The Witch and Race. Will Eddie the Eagle, a feel good comedy about an unlikely athlete, be yet another sign that the dark times are over, or the last gasp of awfulness before such dreck is anesthetized from the local multiplexes? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton) whose one goal in life is to be an Olympic athlete and to one day participate in the games as a representative of Great Britain. He doesn’t really care for any sport in particular (and has very little skill in most of them) but he eventually finds that skiing agrees with him for the most part and hopes to qualify for the 88 Winter Games in Calgary. Sadly, he doesn’t seem to be up to snuff for any of the skiing events and is about to give up when he realizes that Great Britain hasn’t had an official Ski Jumper participate in the games for over fifty years which means that he doesn’t have to compete against anyone else to qualify! True, he’s never jumped in his life, but he’s got about a year until the next games and is determined to get there no matter the cost. He sets up camp in Germany where there’s an official training facility that he can practice at, yet the training seems to be slow going on his own. Fortunately, IT JUST SO HAPPENS that a former American ski jumper named Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman) is the unassuming and alcoholic groundskeeper (I guess that’s what you’d call him) of the facility and, after some badgering from Eddie, eventually decides to help him get just good enough to not kill himself at the games. Will Eddie be able to live out his dream to be an Olympic athlete in a sport he barely understands? Will Bronson find redemption in helping this guy become a proper ski jumper? Who wants to bet the true story wasn’t NEARLY as whimsical as they portray it here?