Trolls World Tour and all the images you see in this review are owned by DreamWorks and Universal Pictures
Directed by David SF Wilson
I know I’m a week late on this, but even with the convince of being able to watch this one at home (and let’s be frank here, I’m not spending THAT much more money than I would at the theater), I just couldn’t be asked when it actually came out and frankly I had better things to do like play that Final Fantasy VII remake than watch a sequel to an animated film I didn’t like all that much. But even if we do have the perfect excuse to sit around and do nothing as it is now the socially conscionable thing to do, I still need to maintain SOME sort of routine to not go stir crazy in here, so fine. Let’s buckle down and watch yet another toy commercial dance around for an hour and a half while playing all the songs your parents used to like! Does it manage to somehow surpass the low expectations that its predecessor had set, or are we in for a LONG bout of isolation if this is the bets that studios can give us in these tumultuous times? Let’s find out!!
Following the events of the first film, Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick) is living out her fantabulous troll life singing songs, performing dance numbers, and being worshiped by her beloved subjects. Her best friend Branch (Justin Timberlake) seems a bit more uneasy about the idyllic life but he puts up with it in the hope getting out of the friend zone (ugh…) to either spend the rest of his life with the troll he loves or this is some elaborate power play to become KING OF THE TROLLS! Of course it’s not the latter (that would be far too interesting), but instead the conflict ends up being a group of ROCK TROLLS led by Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) who is traveling across the land attacking similarly music-themed tribes to steal their magical music strings that the former King Peppy (Walt Dohrn) failed to clue Poppy in about during her Queen initiation. Apparently each tribe of musical trolls (the trolls we know are known as the Pop trolls) has a magical string that signifies their music, and does… something. I’m not exactly sure what, but if Barb gets all six of them, puts them on her super awesome guitar, and plays some tasty licks with them, it’ll turn all the trolls into Rock trolls which will unify the troll kingdoms which will accomplish… something. In any case, Poppy wants to try and negotiate with Barb to see if they can unify peacefully, but it becomes clear that she’s more about taking everything over than working together, and so she and Branch along with Biggie (James Corden) have to travel the land and try to get the other tribes to work together to stop Barb from fulfilling her dastardly destiny. Will Poppy be able to convince any of the other tribes that working together is better than falling apart? Is there more to the history of the strings and these tribes than Poppy knows, and will that play a key role in defining the course of this current crisis? Do you think Justin Timberlake ever wonders why he’s not in better movies or has he just resigned himself to mid-level animated shlock?
Trolls and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn
Ugh… I seriously do not care about trolls; either in general or the ones created by Thomas Dom which this new movie is supposed to be based on. We already have two Smurf movies and another one on the way! WE DON’T NEED A KNOCKOFF!! Okay, I need to calm down. Just because it’s a DreamWorks animated film based on a property I do not care about, doesn’t mean it’s going to be BAD. Shrek was based on a book, and I liked that movie! Okay… that was like fifteen years ago, but maybe they can pull off that same magic here as well! Does this manage to be a fun adventure in a colorful world, or is this one hell of a bad trip? Let’ find out!!
The movie begins with a whole backstory for the Trolls and the Bergens. You see, boys and girls, Trolls are full of sunshine and happiness and like to sing, dance, and hug all the time. Bergens on the other hand are grumpy and miserable like all of us in the REAL world, and apparently the only time they feel any semblance of happiness is whenever they’re eating Trolls. I guess all that ecstasy the Trolls have to be taking in order to keep up their parties makes their flesh chock full of endorphins or something. For the longest time, the Trolls lived in a tree right in the middle of the Bergin kingdom (seems like a bad idea if you ask me), but they escape with due to the valiant effort of their king (Jeffrey Tambor) and the ones the Bergens end up scapegoating for this is their Royal Chef (Christine Baranski) who is banished form the kingdom. Twenty years later, the princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) is set to become the queen of their new home, and she puts on the biggest party EVAR despite the protestations of the grumpy survivalist Troll, Branch (Justin Timberlake). Sure enough, the revelry is enough to get the attention of the Chef, who’s been looking for the Trolls for the last twenty years, and she’s finally able to snatch a few of them to bring back to the Bergens and get back into the graces of their current leader, Prince Gristle Jr (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Poppy sends all the remaining Trolls to Branch’s doomsday bunker to stay safe, and Branch begrudgingly goes along with her to rescue her kidnapped subjects so that he can clear them out of his home as soon as possible. You know! Like that OTHER DreamWorks character who’s a lonely curmudgeon in a fantasy world! Will Poppy and Branch find their friends before they’re boiled alive, chopped to pieces, or stuffed in a pie? Just what does the Chef have planned once she gets back in the Bergens’ good graces? Seriously, do these Trolls do ANYTHING other than party!?
Like any decent film critic, I’ve had a couple of movies that I promised myself I would eventually get to, but then they ended up slipping through the cracks for so long that I had given up hope on ever getting back to them. Well no more I say! Not only am I catching up on two movies I saw in 2015 that I never got to talk about, I have just recently had the chance to watch two other films from 2015 that are definitely worth discussing! So without procrastinating another second, here are four movies from the past year that I now have the chance to review!!
Rock the Kasbah and all the images you see in this review are owned by Open Road Films
Directed by Barry Levinson
Ah yes. The one where Bill Murray saves Afghanistan. See, THIS movie got a bit crowded out because it came to theaters the same week as Jem and the Holograms and The Last Witch Hunter. CLEARLY I was very busy at the time writing reviews for two of the worst movies of the year and things just snowballed after that to the point that I never got my thoughts down on this movie. It may have been the best movie of that week by a long shot, but that’s not saying a hell of a whole lot considering the not so stiff competition it was up against. Is it any good without the direct comparison to the garbage it was surrounded by when it was at the box office? Let’s find out!!
Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) is a guy who will try to get you to fall for anything, and probably believes half the bullshit that he’s spewing. At one time he was a somewhat successful manager to some big acts, but nowadays he just hangs out in his hotel room/office scamming wannabe singers out of some cash while trying to promote one of his clients Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel) who might actually have a bit of talent if he can just get her a break. Opportunity comes a knocking one night where a military man sees her perform and suggest that Richie take her on a USO tour in Afghanistan which is supposed to pay very well with only a slight chance of death in the process. Richie’s all on board but Ronnie eventually reveals that she’s not into being somewhere that rough and not long after arriving in Kabul, she robs him of all his money as well as his passport; leaving him without any identification and in debt to the mercenary (Bruce Willis) who got Ronnie out of the country and was only given half his fee in the process with promises that Richie had the rest. Will he be able to scramble up enough money to pay back the mercenary and get his ass out of the country? Well that actually becomes pretty moot as the REAL plot involves a young woman in a nearby village named Salima Khan (Leem Lubany) who can sing like an angel but will be killed if anyone in her fundamentalist village (and almost anyone her in her fundamentalist country apparently) hears her do it. Richie though sees fame and fortune in the story and eventually convinces her to join an American Idol like competition (Afghan Star) which has never had a female singer on before, and the rest of the movie is basically the fallout of that with Richie learning some lessons about himself along the way!