Downhill and all the images you see in this review are owned by Searchlight Pictures
Directed by Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Let’s see… I don’t remember seeing any trailers for this, I didn’t know it was coming out until the day before I saw it, and I haven’t even seen Veep yet. Yeah, not sure what to say about this one going into it, especially since Sonic The Hedgehog took up all my attention last weekend. But hey, I’m sure SOMEONE out there is excited for this film, right? It made it to Sundance! Did SONIC make it to Sundance? I think NOT! Yeah okay, it’s got a good cast but Will Ferrell hasn’t been on the best of streaks lately so I’m giving this about a fifty-fifty shot at being any good. Does it manage to beat the odds and be the surprise hit of the weekend, or will the only thing people remember about this is that it’s the film that tried to take on the Blue Furball on his opening weekend? Let’s find out!!
Pete and Billie Staunton (Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) have taken their sons Finn and Emerson (Julian Grey and Ammon Jacob Ford) to the Alps for a family vacation which frankly Pete really needed as his father died a mere eight months ago and he’s been shaken up about it ever since. You know how these things go however; the kids would rather just be on their screens all day, the busy schedule means everyone is tired, and all this extra effort and tension is bubbling up repressed negativity in unexpected ways. Perhaps the MOST unexpected way though is what Pete ends up doing that puts a huge damper on things for the rest of the trip! At one point the family is enjoying their lunch on the patio when an avalanche starts to approach, and like what any of us would do (what, you WOULDN’T do this?) Pete grabs his phone and skedaddles while Billie clings to the kids and hopes that they don’t all die in the snowfall. They don’t of course, but darn it if Pete running away didn’t become the biggest buzzkill of this entire trip, and it calls into question quite a lot about their lives, their relationships, and where this family is headed. Will Billie and Pete find a way to come back together after this bizarre event has torn them apart? Will their kids be able to cope with the fact that their dad left them for dead and is barely even acknowledging this fact? Seriously, what kind of excuse could Pete POSSIBLY come up with to explain that? At that point you might as well just drop a smoke bomb and disappear for the rest of your life.
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!?
Daddy’s Home 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Sean Anders
I don’t know about the rest of you, but the only thing I was wondering when I first heard about this movie was why they didn’t cast John Lithgow as the TOUGH dad. Seriously, the dude’s got Cliffhanger, Ricochet, and even Dexter under his belt to show us all how despicably evil he can when the role calls for it, and it’d certainly be much better casting for Marky Mark’s mean deadbeat dad than the guy they got; though I’m pretty sure ANYONE in Hollywood who’s not currently being ostracized for inexcusable behavior would have been a much more palatable choice than Raging Mel. I don’t know about this one. I certainly didn’t expect much out of the first film and it managed to be a bit better than I was expecting, but what are the chances that we’ll get a half-way decent sequel out of that; especially as it’s a Holiday film which are almost always a bad idea for sequels. Wait, didn’t I just say that like a week ago about A Bad Mom’s Christmas? Now that I think about it… two unexpectedly solid comedies about parenting that made a HUGE amount of money at the box office get Holiday sequels about the parents of the characters in the first film… that are released within a week of each other. Huh. Well that’s… coincidental. Anyway, does THIS Holiday sequel manage to AT LEAST be as good as the OTHER Holiday sequel we just got, or am I in for one HELL of a crappy movie going experience? Well… Let’s find out…
The movie begins about a year after the events of the first film where Brad and Dusty (Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg) have put aside their differences and are the best co-dads of all time; sharing responsibilities with the kids and working together as a cohesive family unit! Well… ALMOST perfect. Dusty’s biological daughter Megan (Scarlett Estevez) reveals during the school’s Christmas Recital that she’s not happy about having the holidays split between two households, so the two families band together and decide to have just one Christmas together which seems like a great idea… until Dusty gets a call from his dad Kurt (Mel Gibson) who’s decided to come down for the holidays. This is bad because Dusty’s dad is just like he was in the first film and will surely be nagging on him the entire time for not being MANLY enough whatever the hell toxic dinosaurs like him are always on about. In addition to that, we’ve got Brad’s dad Don (John Lithgow) coming to town who is ACTUALLY a really nice grandpa but seems to be hiding something from Brad, an increasingly tense standoff between Brad’s wife Sara and Dusty’s wife Karen (Linda Cardellini and Alessandra Ambrosio) about how to raise the kids they share (Dusty’s biological kids and Karen’s daughter from another marriage), and to top it all off, Dusty’s biological son Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) is about at the age where he needs to have THE TALK which throws EVERYTHING into chaos as the four dads on hand have their own idea of how it should go and who should give it. Will any of these plot threads come together into something resembling a cohesive whole? Is there a single point in this movie where it’s NOT uncomfortable watching Mel Gibson on screen? Can someone explain to me what I POSSIBLY could have done to deserve this!?
The House and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Andrew Jay Cohen
While everyone else was looking forward to yet another Spider-Man movie or that new Thor film, I was waiting on bated breath for the new Will Ferrell comedy! Now sure, the guy hasn’t been at the top of his game lately, but more often than not he still manages to have a certain amount of charm and charisma that keeps his more mediocre movies at least somewhat entertaining (*cough* Daddy’s Home *cough*) so at the very least his presence usually means I won’t be tearing my seat up in frustration while sitting in the theater. What really sold me on this movie though is that it co-stars Amy Poehler who along with Kaitlin Olson is one of the most underrated comedians out there and really SHOULD be headlining big blockbusters along the current greats like Kevin Hart and Melissa McCarthy. Not only that, but the premise was actually pretty interesting with its sights firmly aimed at the ridiculousness of college tuition fees and the burden it places on students who want ta chance at great opportunities and the parents who are stuck with the extortionist bills. Being one of those unlucky bastards still paying off his student loans, I can certainly relate! Does this movie manage to take full advantage of its extremely talented cast and solid premise to deliver one of the funniest films of the year, or have the filmmakers squandered a fantastic opportunity to make something great? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with the mild mannered middle class Johansen family, made up of Scott, Kate, and Alex (Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, and Ryan Simpkins), taking a tour of Alex’s dream college that they can JUST barely afford since she won a local scholarship for being such a good student. Of course, the city council led up by Bob Schaeffer (Nick Kroll) has decided to divert the scholarship funds towards making a gaudy and impractical local swimming pool (complete with water slides and a food court) w which gives Scott and Kate only three months to come up with tuition money or else Alex can’t go to college. Fortunately, they have a friend named Frank (Jason Mantzoukas) who’s teetering on the edge of total instability after his wife left him and comes up with an idea to not only make them the money they need for Alex’s education but to get him some extra cash so the bank doesn’t foreclose on his house and hopefully get his life back on track enough to win over his soon to be ex-wife. The plan? Use his absurdly large house to set up an illegal casino for all the local housewives and working dads (and vice versa) to unwind and lose a shit load of money! If Scott and Kate can just hold it together for a month, they can make just enough money to pay for Alex’s tuition and close up shop before the one cop in town (Rob Huebel) or even that asshole Bob Schaeffer find out what they’re doing. Can Scott, Kate, and Frank keep things from getting out of hand in the high stakes world of illegal gambling? Look, we’ve ALL seen Casino so it can’t be THAT hard, right?
Daddy’s Home and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Sean Anders
While Adam McKay is trying to branch out with The Big Short, his longtime collaborator Will Ferrell seems to be doing the same thing he’s been doing since Bush was in the White House. You could make the comparisons between him and Adam Sandler, but honestly I still find the guy funny and despite always going back to the man-child well, he’s still willing to branch out every once in a while with films Like Everything Must Go and even The LEGO Movie where he actually got to make an honest statement about the people he has so often portrayed in film. This one though doesn’t look to be all that challenging for him or his audience, but it can still be funny, right? They’ve got Mark Wahlberg in there, and he’s proven himself to be hilarious in other movies. Will this be the perfect comedy to end 2015 on, or is this going to be one more reason we can’t wait to see the year end? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about Will Ferrell playing some guy who’s a step dad and Marky Mark from the Funky Bunch playing the biological father of the family Will Ferrell married into. Will Ferrell has spent the last year or so trying desperately to connect with his new step children and it finally seems like they’re starting to accept him when Marky Mark calls up and says he’s coming over to visit. Misunderstands and double talk then ensue which somehow leads to Marky Mark staying in the garage of their new house and he spends most of the film trying to undercut Will Ferrell and win back his family that he abandoned many years ago. Seems like a tough sell, but it turns out that the kids have mythologized him and he’s also a real MAN’S MAN so who couldn’t fall in love with that, am I right? Can Will Ferrell prove his manly dad-ness enough to convince his wife to NOT abandon him (which really seems like an unlikely scenario), or will Marky Mark get his way long enough to get bored with his family again and leave them twisting in the wind? Can this AT LEAST be better than The Other Guys? Please?