Friday, July 8, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets (PG/90 Min.)

The Secret Life of Pets begins with birds flying over Manhattan.  New York.  Not Kansas.  And that was all it took to pull me in to this movie.  Though my stick-figure drawings are improving by leaps and bounds, I just don’t hold a candle to the amazingness of these artists.  The overhead view of Central Park in the Fall made me want to run home and buy a ticket for a flight to the Big Apple in September…October…Autumn-time.

And the pets!!!  But wait.  You probably want to know a little more about the story itself.  Okay.  I can dig it.  If you’ve seen the trailers, you have a general idea of what the movie’s about.  If you haven’t, you’ve done a great job of avoiding televisions, movie theaters, people in the office who e-mail links to the trailers to co-workers because, “OhmycowyoujusthavetolookatthisIcan’twaittilitcomesout!!!”  What? So I talk a tad quickly when I’m excited.  Anyway, this is basically the story of a good number of the animals in Manhattan and how they act when the humans are away.  It’s also the story of Max, who loves his human, Katie, and doesn’t want to share her with his new brother, Duke, and what happens when they push things just a little too far.

But, back to the trailers.  If you’ve seen them, you’ve only seen a tiny portion of the film and not lots of different bits of various scenes leading to what must be the obvious outcome.  Yes, that’s right, my peeps!!! Trailers that do NOT ruin the movie for you!  What a novel idea!!!  And, even if you laughed and laughed during the musical montage trailer, you’ll still laugh at it in the film.  Well, I did anyway.  As did most of the kids and adults in the theater with me.  I went with my cousin and my 6-year-old cousin, jr.  and we all loved it.  Some of us more than others because one of us…cough cough, jr. …had ants in her pants because she wanted me to get us signed up for a prize drawing that was to happen right after the movie was over.  That was my mistake.  I told her that I’d do it as soon as the credits began and those credits couldn’t get there fast enough for her.  However!  One of my other cousin jr’s. and her 3-year-old junior went to a different pre-screening of the film and junior, jr. really liked it.  So…now you know.  Kids like this film.  Unless they have their eyes on the prize.  Literally.

I have decided that whoever was in charge of creating the different pets either has these certain pets or they watch a LOT of YouTube or have many a pin on Pinterest.  They were spot on!  No pun intended.  Let’s talk about Chloe.  No, she’s not the star of the film but, as the main feline, she might as well be.  I must become friends with her creator.  She is so….cat!  From her I-don’t-care-about-you-til-I-feel-like-caring-about-you attitude, to playing with her toy mouse to, to fitting herself into different objects including bowls and way-too-small boxes.  Any time the main pets are congregated, keep your eyes on Chloe.  Okay, one of your eyes.  Because other stuff is happening too.

And then there’s Gidget.  If you’ve seen the movie Zootopia and think you’ve heard her voice somewhere before, you have!  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  It’s good.  But, enough about Zootopia.  We’re talking Pets!  Gidget pretty much stole the show.  How that can happen during an animated movie I have no idea, but there you go.  She’s a cute, little ball of floof but has a pretty decent case of tiny dog syndrome when it’s needed.  I vowed, long ago, to never EVER own a floofy dog but she came really close to making me consider the possibility.  Then the movie ended and I was over it.

Those were my two favorite characters, followed closely by Snowball.  You just can’t help but like Snowball, the sadistic little bunny that he was.  Yes, he bordered creepy-town on occasion but never totally crossed the line.  I’m almost ashamed to admit that I didn’t recognize his voice.  Almost.  I was too wrapped up to be pulled into that little game.  Which is amazing in, and of, itself.

I guess I should mention Max and Duke.  I truly liked them both and, again, firmly believe that their creators KNOW these types of dogs.  There’s nothing negative I can say about either of them.  They did funny things and were in funny scenes, and some not so funny scenes.  I just liked all the other pets so much more.  But, don’t let that deter you from seeing this.  I recommend this for just about anyone.  I say “just about” because I’m sure there are strange people out there (my sister) who don’t like animated movies. What?  I know, right?!?!?!

As far as anything that could possibly scare children, if they’ve seen the afore-mentioned movie about cop bunnies and did okay with that, this should be just fine too.  I am going to see The Secret Life of Pets  again this weekend.  At the Winchester (shameless plug for the local drive-in).  With a male-type person.  What?  I know, right?!?!?!  Oh!  And they’re showing Tarzan, too.  You should go.

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Purge: Election Year (R/165 Min.)

Most people will agree that sequels are never as good as the original.  That holds true here but if you liked the first two Purges, you’ll like this one too. 

In The Purge: Election Year, Senator Charlie Roan is running for President and stands a pretty good chance of winning; if she survives The Purge.  With the help of Leo Barnes, who we met in The Purge: Anarchy, she just might make it.

I’ve been asked why I like this type of movie.  Scary, fight-for-your-life kinds of movies.  My answer?  It’s an adrenaline rush minus the danger.  If I had my druthers, I would always pass on this kind of real-life experience.  And! I would definitely NOT want to watch any of that happen to real people.  The un-realness of it is the main draw for me.  Or it was.  Sadly, in the last few years, more and more people are calling for a Purge.  A real, live Purge.  Here.  In America.  I think this had an affect on my viewing experience this time around.  It was hard to sit back and accept this as “just a movie”.  It made it scarier, which is probably what the movie people were going for; just probably not for the reason they expected.

While Election Year is more like Anarchy in that it focuses on several different groups of people, it did have a main target as seen in the original Purge.  Senator Roan wants to end the Purge and many people would rather she didn’t.  What better way to stop her than to take advantage of the one night of the year in which she can be taken out with no repercussions?  Leo Barnes is determined that this will not happen.  Joe Dixon is the owner of a local deli and Marcos is an employee who will stand by him to protect the shop or Joe himself, if needed.  Laney Rucker is determined to protect them all.

I liked all of the main characters.  They served a purpose and I didn’t feel like the movie would have been fine without them.  The Senator was overboard stubborn but, other than that, I don’t think I’d have a changed any of the main cast.  Except for Dante Bishop, the leader of a group of people who would do almost anything to end the Purge, I found quite a bit lacking in the supporting cast.  The Freakbrides, the foreign tourists, and the blue-robed guy (great description, I know) in the church were all so over-the-top that it was almost graphic novel-like.  Which, in my opinion, was not quite a bad thing.

This movie is very much not for children, despite what the parents of the three-year-old who was in attendance at this showing thought.  I’m still reeling from the knowledge that she experienced that.  The violence alone gave the movie its rating.  If you’ve seen the first two films, you know the kind of violence I’m talking about.  It’s not a gunshot here and there with hardly any blood kind of movie.  This is a people getting their faces blown off kind of movie. And while it included plenty of cussing, it had a lot less than I expected; especially considering what was happening.  If I’d been going through any of those situations, I’d have given Samuel L. Jackson a run for his money. 

I would recommend this to anyone who has seen the other Purges or who like anarchy-type films.  If you, like me, enjoy danger-free adrenaline rushes, you might like this movie. If you stick mainly to sunshine and lollipops kinds of movies, this is so not for you.  And, please, for the love of all that’s good and right in the world, do NOT take your children to see this!!!

There is nothing after the credits.  Why are you sitting in a dark theater after a movie like this?  Go home!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Warcraft (PG-13/123 Min.)

Warcraft (PG-13/123min.)

Okay, so I never played World of Warcraft, but I did play Starcraft.  And since it’s highly unlikely that my ex-husband reads this blog I’m gonna say that I totally rocked it.  He played WoW, though, so I saw it a lot!  Enough of that though.  I was waiting for Batman v Superman to start when I saw the trailer for yet another fantasy movie.  I try not to watch trailers because they completely ruin movies so I was barely tuned in to this one.  Something caught my eye though and I very nearly yelled, “Warcraft!!!”  I did, however, whisper it loud enough for my cousin to turn to me and whisper back, “Nerd.”  Well…yeah.  And I know what some of you may be thinking.  Oh great.  Another game-based movie.   While that is true, it is so much better than some of the other ones out there.

Warcraft begins with a human facing off against an orc.  We saw them running towards each other and then, we never saw them again…that we know of.  And this fact just dawned on me.  And now I’m frustrated.  But this is about the worst thing you’ll hear me say about this film.  I liked it.  I really, really did.  Everyone around me seemed to, too.  So, after the two guys who faced off and we never saw again, we were taken to an orc world.  It was dying and they needed a new world to take over. Enter Azeroth.  Well, the orcs did anyway.  Through a stinkin’ big portal.  Unfortunately for them and fortunately for the citizens of Azeroth, only a “small” contingent of orcs could make it through the portal at that time.  The others would have to wait. 

The main characters consisted of a handful of humans, a few orcs, a half-orc/half-draenei (yes, I did have to look that one up), and a couple of mages.  The humans were, of course, not hard to look at, but the orcs were amazing.  I loved the special effects in this movie.  I can’t even imagine the amount of time it took to make one orc, let alone thousands.  As far as the scenery throughout the film, it seemed to have been stolen from several other movies. I felt some Lord of the Rings, some Avatar, a bit of Star Wars, and even a little scene from the Bible, as the lady who sat next to me said over and over and OVER again.  There may have been more but I missed it if there was.

I don’t think I can think of anything negative to say as far as the cast is concerned.  I thought they were all pretty good. After the orcs, I liked the mages.  After that, I liked the animals.  And finally, I liked the humans.  I mean, they were just humans after all.  No great effects there.  A couple of them were not hard to look at, though.  As far as star power goes, I only recognized one person in the entire film and I’m not telling who it is.  She was a bit of a shock though.  I never would have pictured her in this type of role though she did a great job for the minute-and-a-half we got to see her.

I’ve tried to stay pretty positive in this review but I do have to say one somewhat negative thing.  Why on earth would you make a portal so tall when you really only need one a little taller than the tallest orc?  It doesn’t make sense and was a complete waste of energy.  If they’d made it smaller, they probably could’ve fit more orcs through.  And totally changed the rest of the movie.  So maybe the powers-that-be knew what they were doing.  But still…

Warcaft earned its rating because of violence only.  There was no cussing, no drugs, no drinking, no sex, no nudity.  The violence did get a bit gross though.  When men get their heads bashed in by giant sledgehammers or stepped on by big orc feet and squish like melons, it gets a bit gross.  Fortunately, these humans didn’t have normal [for us] colored blood so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. 

As I’ve said many times before, this is not a movie my mom would enjoy because of the violence but I would highly recommend this film for WoW players and non-players alike.  While it does majorly push taking care of the world in which you live and how important honor is and should be, this was all entertainment all the time. I don’t recall a down moment in the entire movie. It had my attention from the get go.  Go see this.  It’s fun.