Missing Link and all the images you see in this review are owned by Laika and United Artists Releasing
Directed by Chris Butler
I feel like I should be a hundred times more supportive of Laika and their filmography; especially considering how they can use all the help they can get. It’s not that I’ve disliked any of the movies I’ve seen (Coraline, Kubo, and now this), just that despite every they get right they’ve never quite managed to be the best animated films of their respective years and end up feeling like a second tier studio when they are clearly aspiring for the very best; kind of like a Studio Ghibli where they aren’t as prolific or well known as the Disneys and Dreamworks of the world, but have garnered massive respect and influence. Perhaps they will get there one and (some would say that they are already there) and their latest movie might just be what they need to make that dream that much more within their reach. Is this yet another masterpiece from one of the most creative animation studios working today or is this a misfire for a studio that can’t afford to have one of those right now? Let’s find out!!
The movie is set in the late nineteenth century and Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) is the world’s premiere Cryptozoologist before that was a thing as he hunts down mythical creatures like The Loch Ness monster and fails to take decent pictures of them every single time. It’s a shame because the guy is a certifiable badass, but his deeds fall on less than enthusiastic ears as none believe his wild tales of mythical creatures; least of all the members of the Great Men society who snub his work and laugh behind his back. Frost is not one to give up however and after receiving a letter telling him that he can find the mysterious Sasquatch in the woods of Washington, he makes a bet with the society’s stuff leader Lord Piggot-Dunceby (Stephen Fry) that he will gain acceptance into the organization if he can bring back proof of the creature! Sure enough, he does manage to find the legendary beast, but the plot starts to thicken as it turns out that Sasquatch can not only talk (Zack Galifianakis) but was also the one who wrote the letter. You see, he’s the last of his species up here in the Washington forest (I guess the others were all killed in some sort of massacre?) and wants to find safe passage to the Himalayas where he hears that similar creatures known as Yetis have lived for thousands of years, and he can definitely use a few more friends. Frost agrees to exchange evidence of the creature’s existence in exchange for taking him to his family and dubs him Mr. Link for the rest of the journey, and first mission is that Frost needs a map that is currently being held by an old friend of his Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana) and she’s not about to give it up unless she gets to go on the journey too. However, Lord Piggot-Dunceby is getting REAL sick of Frost’s buffoonery and decides to hire a hitman (Timothy Olyphant) to kill him whether or not he finds the beast, so that’s something ELSE they’ll have to deal with on top of Mr. Link’s awkward and clumsy behavior as well as the treachery of traveling that far in this day and age. Will Mr. Link finally be reunited with his own kind and will Frost get the recognition he so desperately craves? What further challenges await them on their way to the Himalayas, and can their budding friendship endure such hardships? Seriously, this proper English explorer is traveling with this guy for weeks and he couldn’t spend an hour getting him a PROPER fitted suit!?
Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim
Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim
We’re back another episode of 21 Jefferton Street where it seems that Tim & Eric beat Phil Lord and Chris Miller to the punch by a good six years, albeit with a much smaller budget and a tenth of the run time. The episode begins with yet another public service announcement for the citizens of Jefferton, though this time they couldn’t afford Janeane Garofalo and had to settle for Jan and Wayne Skyler; Jefferton’s own married news team. The lack of A-List celebrities on hand however should NOT lessen their grave message as it seems that the greatest menace currently facing the town is the abundance of starch in people’s diet. Now to their credit, starch IS something you should watch out for in your diet as it’s a common staple in some really bad foods and can even cause blood sugar issues if you’re already susceptible to those kind of issues (starch is a form of glucose), but like with basically ANYTHING you eat it’s all about moderation and finding out what works best for your system. Now obviously this PSA isn’t about that as it’s paid for by the Jefferton Starch League, and the goal was clearly to scare people into looking at ridiculous (and pricey) alternatives to simply cutting back on the mashed potatoes. Case in point, Jan and Wayne’s guest on the program is a wacky inventor named Sandy Winfield (Bob Odenkirk) who has devised a Starch Testing Machine that looks like a ColecoVision with a desktop calculator from the same era glued on top. Now sure, it CAN be a pain in the ass to measure starch content in all the food you eat (subtract the total grams of carbohydrates from the grams of sugar and fiber), but since Mr. Winfield’s method LITERALLY involves your ass as you have to have to test your own stool with it, I think doing a little bit of math is the much more convenient option.
Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim
Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim
We’re back with another episode of Tom’s Anatomy as Tom is forced to confront his greatest enemy yet; the Pharmaceutical Industry! I’m calling it now; dude’s a total goner by the second act. The episode begins with a magical scene of Tom and some beautiful lady gallivanting in a world of rainbows and unicorns; sharing moments of happiness that clearly cannot last because this is Tom and everything that’s great in his life eventually turns to garbage. Now you can probably surmise form the inclusion of rainbows and unicorns that this is all one big dream sequence, but where things start to turn is when Tom has a… a-hem… accident in his sleep. No, not number one or even number two… number three. Well that’s not necessarily a BAD thing, right? I mean sure, it’s inconvenient to have to wash the sheets, but a good time is still a good time, right? Well… not quite. You see, the moment he… finishes, he’s violently woken up as the act seems to have caused him a great deal of pain as well as the condemnation of his lovely wife Joy who by the way wasn’t the woman in his dream. These abrupt interruptions are also wreaking havoc on Tom’s sleep schedule to the point that when he visits The Mayor the next day, he ends up collapsing right there on the floor before he can even propose his latest get rich quick scheme. The good news is that Tom wakes up in a hospital bed instead of The Mayor’s basement or his underground lair beneath his office. The bad news? Well it looks like Tom’s issues are not just a lack of sleep and a few uncomfortable wet dreams.
A Wrinkle in Time and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Ava DuVernay
I actually have read the book that this movie is based on, and what I remember about it is… that I read the book. Yeah, the big concern that I had with this film after seeing the trailers is that this material is NOT gonna be easy to adapt as the source material is pretty abstract and kinda confusing from what I recall which can work for a book that you’re supposed to sit there and absorb at your own pace, but is less likely to come together as well when put on the big screen. Still, while the trailers were very vague and didn’t give much of an indication of what the story would be about, the imagery was striking and the director behind it is someone who is coming up in a big way in Hollywood, so maybe there’s a chance to pull this adaptation off given the resources behind it. Will this be the next touchstone for all ages cinema like ET, The Neverending Story, or about eighty percent of Pixar’s output, or is this one of those films that goes big and then fails hard? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the story of Meg Murry (Storm Reid) who is the daughter of Dr. Kate Murray and Dr. Alex Murry (Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Chris Pine); the latter of whom just up and disappeared four years ago and leaving his family to wonder what the heck happened to him and if he will ever return. Naturally this doesn’t sit well with Meg who’s been having trouble in school lately due to bullying from kids who… I guess think it’s funny to make fun of a girl for her dad disappearing, and really only confides in her little brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) who’s surprisingly smart for his age and has started making friends with three mysterious women who just randomly show up every once in a while. After a particularly rough stretch at school where Meg bashes a girl’s face in with a basketball (TOTALLY deserved by the way), she makes a new friend in the form of Calvin (Levi Miller) who seems to be at least a tertiary part of the three mysterious women’s plans, and said mystery women finally confirm for Meg that her dad is STILL alive somewhere. The only catch is that he’s halfway across the universe, BUT that won’t prove to be much of a problem because it turns out that humans can ACTUALLY travel across time and space using only the power of their minds; something that the three mystery ladies demonstrate by taking her, Calvin, and Christopher Wallace to the last known location of their dad which is some planet very far away. We learn that the three mystery ladies are in fact Miss Who, Miss Whatsit, and Miss Which (Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah Winfrey) and they’re some sort of cosmic entities that exist to help people across space and time fight injustices across the universe; and THEY manage to do it WITHOUT a blue police box! So now that Meg and Christopher Wallace have a solid lead on where to find their dad, what will they (along with Calvin) have to face in order to find him? Well, PROBABLY the black mystery ooze floating through space known as The Darkness as well as The It (no, not THAT It) which is growing and expanding at an alarming rate and will surely make it to Earth before too long. Will Meg, Charles Wallace manage to save their father from whatever it is that has kept him under lock and key for the last four years? What can The Misses teach this trio of children about the universe that will prepare them for the fight ahead? Did Ava DuVernay manage to make a more psychedelic and drug fueled film on Disney’s dime than Doctor Strange!? One SPECIFICALLY aimed at young kids!?
Tulip Fever and all the images you see in this review are owned by The Weinstein Company
Directed by Justin Chadwick
Now THESE are the movies I live for! What makes a good or bad movie even better is if there’s a good story behind it, and this looks like a disaster waiting to happen; what with its troubled production (it’s earliest incarnation was supposed to be filmed in 2004) and the fact that it’s been sitting on Harvey Weinstein’s shelf for almost three years now. Not only that, the premise itself sounds completely absurd (a steamy period romance AND ALSO the explosion of the Dutch tulip market) and the trailers made it look like a muddled mess; probably due to that whole “sitting around for three years” thing. Sometimes a film can rise above a nightmarish film shoot with films like Apocalypse now and even The Shining being great examples of that (even if Shelly Duvall’s treatment on set was pretty freaking grotesque), but other times we get stuff like Waterworld, The Super Mario Bros Movie, or even Food Fight. Does this film manage to come out of all this turmoil as an intact and extremely entertaining film, or should they have never bothered dusting this off in the first place? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Sophia (Alicia Vikander) who’s agreed to marry Cornellis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz) in exchange for her younger sister getting a free trip to American and her getting out of the orphanage. All she has to do is sire him an heir and live a happy domesticated life; provided the dude who more or less bought her doesn’t get bored and throw her out on the streets. Still, even if a baby would have kept him from doing such a thing (at least not right away) she seems completely unable to get pregnant which puts a strain on their “relationship” which I guess you can call it. In walks Jan van Loos (Dane DeHaan) who is painting a portrait for them but manages to fall madly in love with Sophia who eventually reciprocates his feelings. After more than a few bangings behind Sandvoort’s back, trouble starts to brew when Sophia’s maid Maria (Holiday Grainger) gets married and the father (Jack O’Connell) disappears due to some contrived misunderstanding. Now her being pregnant and unmarried is a problem while Sophia being NOT pregnant is a problem as well. I wonder if the two things could somehow come together to come up with a solution! Oh and there’s a Tulip Market bubble that’s going on in the background that I’m sure means something important. Will Sophia be able to give Sandvoort what he wants while also finding a way to escape his clutches? What will happen to their brilliant plan if the REAL father comes back at the WORST POSSIBLE TIME? Are we SURE that Dane Dehaan isn’t just playing Valerian again and this is one of his Time Travel stories?
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?
Keeping Up with the Joneses and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Greg Mottola
Are you SURE I didn’t see this last month? I’m just getting the weirdest sense of déjà vu right now… Well either way, we’re stuck with another Zach Galifianakis comedy to throw on the pile, and the Unique Selling Point here is that it’s a spy movie. Sigh… Really? We just got a dumb criminal movie; now we’ve got him dicking around in the most overplayed genre of the year!? Well, who knows? Central Intelligence managed to be good despite its rather weak spy angle, and while Masterminds had a pretty strong cast as well, THIS one has sexiest man alive who’s named after food, Jon Hamm, as it’s costar! Maybe this could end up being really good! Right? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the Typical American Suburban CoupleTM made up of Jeff Gaffney (Zach Galifianakis) and Karen Gaffney (Isla Fisher) who are living out what some dumbass Hollywood executives must believe are the normal lives of middle class white people. Jeff works at some defense company as the Human Resources manager which means he basically wastes people’s time and lets them use his computer for personal stuff. Basically he’s a doormat that’s merely tolerated by his peers, but he’s perfectly happy to live this life of quiet desperation for some reason and will probably be behind his crappy little desk until the day he keels over and dies. Those plans start to change though as the cul-de-sac gets new neighbors in the form of Tim Jones (Jon Hamm) and Natalie Jones (Gal Gadot) who are pretty bad at their jobs as they are OBVIOUSLY spies. In fact, they are so unsubtle about this that Karen picks up on it immediately and it doesn’t take long for her suspicious to be confirmed. By the time this happens though, both she and Jeff have already been dragged into some sort national security operation to prevent some sort of black market sale that was happening right under Jeff’s nose as SOMEONE who’s been using his computer was setting it all up from there! Now the two couples have to work together to save the world or something, and I’m SURE Jeff and Karen are gonna pull their weight in this situation and not be total albatrosses hanging around the necks of these two professional spies who ACTUALLY know what the hell they’re doing. Who is the person setting up the sale that will threaten national security, and why did they have to be a dick about it by using Jeff’s computer? The Joneses may seem like the perfect power couple, but are there issues that they aren’t addressing? Was anyone looking forward to this? Like… at all?
Masterminds and all the images you see in this review are owned by Relativity Media
Directed by Jared Hess
Oh hey, I remember this guy! Didn’t he do Napoleon Dynamite like a hundred years ago? Okay, maybe it wasn’t THAT long ago, but you can hardly say that he’s had a sterling career since then with Nacho Libre and Gentleman Broncos being poor follow ups to his breakout hit. Still, this one seems to be outside of his comfort zone, what with how many A-list comedians are on hand and the general tone of the film from the trailers, so maybe stretching himself as an artist will do him some good and he can wow us all once again with his immense talent! Hey, it’s POSSIBLE… right? Is this movie one of the standout comedies of the year that will remind us why we liked Jared Hess in the first place, or is this yet more proof that the dude peaked with his first film? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows lovable David Ghantt (Zach Galifianakis) who’s living the pathetic loser life in his shitty little town where no one respects him or even likes him all that much; even his fiancée (Kate McKinnon), but then she’s so cartoonishly off-putting that it’s hard to tell if she’s feeling anything at all. The dude seems perfectly fine to let things go this way and live out his life as a security guard for Loomis Fargo and have zero impact on the rest of the world. That is… until SHE came through the door. Kelly (Kristen Wigg) becomes a coworker of David’s and the two hit it off immediately, by which I mean he develops a massive crush on her and she gets her ass fired before she has a chance to really capitalize on it. Eventually though, she does come back into his life, only now she has someone with her. Steven Chambers (Owen Wilson) wants to use David to rob Loomis Fargo and plans on using his clear obsession with Kelly to get him to do it. Needless to say that David promptly agrees for that exact reason, and surprisingly the heist seems to work at first! They walk away with SEVENTEEN MILLION DOLLARS, David goes to Mexico while the heat dies down, and everyone else (including Kelly) for some reason stay in their shitty little town and try to lay low there. As with most crime movies though, things start to unravel, especially when FBI agents (Leslie Jones and Jon Daly) start to investigate those involved and a hit man (Jason Sudeikis) winds up in the mix. Will David get away with his crime and have all the money he could ever want? Will Kelly be able to save David from Steven who’s hell bent on keeping him out of their way permanently? How the hell did this stupid mother fucker get through airport security!?