Review: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’


                The first Captain America was a hit but not as appreciated in my opinion as much as it should be when placed against the other Marvel movies.  It was unashamedly pro-American and showed a deeper love for our soldiers than many movies before or after it.  So when I saw the first trailer for Winter Soldier and heard some of the lines coming out of Captain America’s mouth, I was very hesitant.  I was hesitant because the extremely talented Joss Whedon tried to put in liberal talking points in The Avengers in the form of a monologue coming from the Captain.  It looked like, to me at least, that maybe similar liberal nonsense found its way into this new movie.  That comes from years of having movies preach to us stupid diatribes full of so much fantasy that Peter Jackson would be proud.  Then I read the early reviews, that the movie mocks Obama and I got excited again.  Not so much that it mocked our girlie president but that for once I didn’t have to get preached to some moronic stance that made fun of me and half of America.  Knowing that, how did the movie end up?

                Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is still struggling to find how he fits into a world he barely knows.  To keep himself preoccupied, he dives into his new role as one of the head tactical soldiers for S.H.I.E.L.D. and continues to do numerous missions.  He finds himself on a boat for one particular mission and finds out that his partner, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) has been given other orders that he is unaware of.  This rubs him the wrong way and as he begins to know more and more about the organization he works for, he becomes unsure of his role in it.  A new enemy, once thought just a myth, known as the Winter Soldier begins to thwart S.H.I.E.L.D. at almost every turn.  The Captain, Widow and a volunteer to the team, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), try to figure out who the mystery villain is while protecting the organization they are not sure they trust anymore.

                Wow, what an incredible movie that is two plus hours that flies by with practically no down time or off beat scenes.  Chris Evans continues to show that he was a brilliant choice for the role, continuing to bring depth, innocence and bravery to a role that means a lot to comic book fans.  Johansson, in one of the only roles she hasn’t bugged me in, keeps up with Evans in not only the comedy but the action as well.  Robert Redford may be a hypocritical lib, but man can he command a scene.  He’s smooth confident and a constant welcome presence in this universe.  While I thought Sam Jackson as Nick Fury initially seemed great, his presence has become stale and they need to bring something to the character that seems fresh.  They tried it here and it worked a little, but not enough.  Mackie was a great addition and keeps up with Evans and Johansson.  Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier, while great as Bucky, is nowhere near as menacing as the Winter Soldier as I would have liked.  He was too fresh faced and not scary enough, especially when he doesn’t have the mask on.  The action is top notch, and some of the best edited action in years.  The world is back to feeling accessible again after the so-so Thor 2Everything from the production value to the story is pulled together extremely well that even the little missteps are forgiven because the surrounding awesomeness is just great.

winter soldier still

                The story is not only one that is overdue from Hollywood, but is also gripping and plays up the promised political thriller given by the directors last year almost masterfully.  There’s tension throughout the film, even though you can guess what the outcome will be from the start.  Once again, Captain America is given a hero’s heart and is willing to sacrifice all for the protection of not only his country but even his enemies.  The basic story of information overload and the ease of someone to snatch that info, secret, private or public and use it against people is scary enough in the Marvel world let alone what is going on in the real world.  A speech the Captain gives about what true sacrifice is about near the ending of the movie is not only touching but inspiring.  Thank God there are real heroes like this in the world today and The Winter Soldier pays tribute to those people, America’s military, once again throughout the film.  The themes of hope, courage, manliness and sacrifice are very powerful, even today and this film gives them all their due.  The film grabs you from the very beginning and only let’s go when the credits roll.  There’s well paced tension that pays off in the end and gives the audience heroes to cheer for.

                This movie is an enjoyable two plus hours that has hints of current relevancy to what is going on around us.  What is happening in this movie and in our time, you know, the things liberals said George W. Bush was doing, is actually being done under the Obama administration.  How refreshing that Hollywood finally had the courage to say so in a movie.  It must be pointed out when it happens, because it is so rare and I hope that the money that flows into their coffers encourages more.

3 and ½ stars out of 4

Posted in Review | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick Reviews

                Here’s a list of a few recent viewings I have gone through lately that I didn’t or didn’t want to review for whatever reason.  Hopefully I can give a short review that may peak your interests to either watch or pass on a film you might have been considering.  There can be a mix of newer/older movies with a few insights.



                After reading about the plot to this film and then seeing its trailer I actually was happy to watch this with my wife.  It looked good and had an interesting story of a huge Jane Austin fan that gets to live her dream of living out one of the famous authors stories.  Even though Keri Russell and JJ Field give really good performances, the movie was a complete and utter let down.  There were too many odd choices for characterization by the equally and normally great Bret McKenzie and Jennifer Coolige which were annoying and not at all funny.  Odd plot choices that didn’t make sense or came about much too early than the usual romantic comedy formula make this a waste of a movie, which again, is lame because it is a really good idea.  There’s also things that just happen in the story with no explanation, case in point, at the end of the movie it looks like all the actors are hooking up together at the closing ceremony and we’re not told why because there is no hint of hooking up throughout any previous scene.  Another odd thing about the film is we got it on demand and it said it was rated R, with nary a swear word, violent scene or any hint of nudity.  I would strongly suggest skipping this one if you were thinking about seeing it, you will be disappointed.  1 and ½ stars out of 4

Knights of Badassdom


                I saw a trailer for this one over a year ago and was looking forward to it and it never came out.  A few months ago there was an update saying that it would be brought to On Demand networks and I picked up that excitement again.  My wife and I watched it the other night and, while it did have some good laugh out loud moments, I was left a little disappointed.  The story of a group of Larpers (Live Action Role Playing) who accidently call into the earth a succubus from hell seemed like a good idea and a great movie trailer, it just didn’t live up to the potential.  The cast is great with Steve Zahn, Peter Dinklage and Jimmi Simpson bringing the big laughs as well as more of the well-rounded characters, but the story didn’t flow like it should have.  This could have been a really great movie; instead it’s just passable as a time waster.  2 stars out of 4

Taxi Driver

taxi driver poster

                I’m not sure why it took me so long to watch this film, but I finally did and it was beyond interesting.  I remember hearing that this was one of those films during that decade where it showed the tortured Vietnam vet coming back into the world and struggling.  How do these people see that?  The main character mentions once that he was in the war and it doesn’t seem to have given him any lasting damage that says “anti-war” film.  Instead, you are seeing a loner not sure how to interact with people and while watching that I got that it he was like this before and after the war.  That was the character, always like that.  Beyond that it is a great actor’s film, De Niro is phenomenal of course but there was one really great scene where Scorsese of all people does a great job of creeping you out.  It’s definitely not a movie for everyone, only for those true Scorsese fans or ones that love the character study type movie.  2 and ½ stars out of 4

Posted in Retro Review, Review | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Why You Won’t See a Review for ‘Noah’ Anytime Soon


                It has been an interesting road for me on whether I was going to pay to see this movie or not.  It came up on my radar a year or so ago when I heard the guy who made The Wrestler was going to take on the story of Noah.  I then read a script review from Brian Godawa that made me even less excited about the film.  You see, Hollywood has yet to get that they aren’t really trusted to handle the material that is held as sacred Scripture by Christians around the world.  Outside of more recent releases like The Passion of the Christ and to some extent The Prince of Egypt, Hollywood doesn’t really have a love for the true God and His followers.  How can they take anything like the Bible seriously when they hate it, its follows and its Author?  From what I have read in the last few days, I cannot justify spending the money to see a movie that will make me sinfully angry.

                What solidified it for me was not only Godawa’s review of the film, but also Dr. Brain Mattson’s review , entitled ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ and the  breakdown of the pagan nature of the film he gave:

“Darren Aronofsky has produced a retelling of the Noah story without reference to the Bible at all. This was not, as he claimed, just a storied tradition of run-of-the-mill Jewish “Midrash.” This was a thoroughly pagan retelling of the Noah story direct from Kabbalist and Gnostic sources. To my mind, there is simply no doubt about this.”

                Read the whole review to get an incredible insight into what happens when someone who hates the biblical God like Aronofsky does, tells a story from Scripture.  This is a person who thinks God, if He exists, is an uninvolved murderous evil tyrant, that eating meat is one of the great evils, that man needed to be destroyed by a flood because his carbon footprint was too big and that man knows better than God and is morally superior to him.  That’s just ridiculous liberal self and earth worship that’s been around for quite some time.  From Godawa:

“But as Aronofsky said in an interview Noah’s journey is God’s journey of being so judgmental that he has to learn mercy. Because you see, Aronofsky has said he is a humanist. Humanists believe man is the measure of all things and man is not created in God’s image, God is created in man’s image. So it makes sense within his atheism to portray God as learning to be more merciful since God is merely an extension of man’s own imagination.”

That’s not only wrong, it’s evil.

noah still

Both reviewers mentioned above and others have also helped point out how certain Christian “leaders” were duped into endorsing the movie:

From Mattson:

“Some readers may think I’m being hard on people for not noticing the Gnosticism at the heart of this film. I am not expecting rank-and-file viewers to notice these things. I would expect exactly what we’ve seen: head-scratching confusion. I’ve got a whole different standard for Christian leaders: college and seminary professors, pastors, and Ph.Ds. If a serpent skin wrapped around the arm of a godly Bible character doesn’t set off any alarms… I don’t know what to say.”

                From Godawa:

“Christians, you are tools being played if you think that this movie is anything BUT a subversion of the Biblical God and an exaltation of environmentalism and animal rights against humans. Those who say that hurting the earth is just part of the sins of mankind in the story are missing the deeper point. No matter what “sins” of man that are portrayed in this story, they are only expressions of the ultimate sin, which is to sin against the earth. Every time it talks about man’s sin and God’s intent, the context is always “creation” not God, and not man as God’s image. The guy who preaches “man as God’s image” is the villain. “Creation” as in “Nature” is the metanarrative here, NOT God.”

                Russell Crowe and others who participated in the film tried to even get the Pope’s blessing, for whatever that’s worth.  Even to the point of lying that they got it.  Okay, par for the course for a lib, but when it came to Christian “leaders” giving the movie their blessings and then reading what the film portrays and how it portrays it, I was saddened.  Even though I knew I should not be because so much of the American Christian today looks like your average moral relativist who believes in a social gospel more than the true one, it still stinks.  Those who stand up for Truth are not the ones who get the attention unfortunately.  It is the fakes who fit the picture liberals think Christian’s are, for example the Westboro church, Joel Osteen, pedophilic priests and others who claim Christ but do not know Him.  The “good” Christians are the ones who claim to be but have no signs of working faith in their life and have abandoned the Truth for a lie like Nancy Pelosi, Rob Bell, Kristin Chenoweth and so many others.

                It’s a sad state and the controversy that made the movie a hit over it’s opening weekend will give courage to more Hollywood types, like Aronofsky, to make fun of Christianity or in the case of this movie, give a narrative that twists and perverts the character of God to push an agenda that man is the ultimate good.  They’ve done it before and they will do it again.  When the film is free I will review it, until then, nope.

Posted in Review | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

grand budapest hotel poster

                Wes Anderson, so far, has only made one bad movie.  That movie was The Darjeeling Limited and it was god-awful.  Every other film he has made has been masterful and among some of the best in my generation.  So, it was no surprise to me when I saw the first trailer for his latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, that it was going to be one of the most anticipated films of 2014.  Full of Anderson’s usual cast of great actors, there was going to be a new player to the list and that was the great Ralph Fiennes.  When I watched the trailer it seemed like a no brainer that Fiennes would be in a Wes Anderson film and he looked like he was going to do the character and the story justice.  So how did the movie fair once I sat down to watch it?

                In the mountains of the Republic of Zubrowka an author (Jude Law) sits in a once great hotel.  One evening he meets with the hotel’s owner, Zero (F. Murray Abraham) who tells him the story of the Grand Budapest Hotel.  In 1932, a much younger Zero (Tony Revolori) is hired as a lobby boy by the hotel’s concierge, Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) who quickly becomes his mentor.  Gustave is not only one of the world’s best concierges; he is also one who is known to sleep with his rich elderly guests.  One such guest, Madame D (Tilda Swinton) is found dead shortly after their last encounter and he inherits a priceless painting from her much to the chagrin of her family.  The family frames Gustave for her murder and he and Zero must find a way to get him out of jail, clear his name and return to their duties at the hotel.

grand budapest still

                Yet again, Anderson has brought together an incredible cast with each character bringing the usual fun to the oddness of Anderson’s world.  Ralph Fiennes is the best part of the movie.  He delivers his lines quickly and confidently with such a strong sense of comedic timing that I am surprised he has not been in an Anderson movie yet and would not be surprised if he is utilized again.  Newcomer Tony Revolori keeps up with Fiennes bringing the heart of the story to full fruition as he plays a shy and naïve young man coming into his own.  F. Murray Abraham, who is only in the film for a few minutes, hasn’t been this good since Amadeus.  Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton et al are fantastic in this universe as are the rest of the cast.  As usual, Anderson’s vision of how his film should look is masterful.  The color pallet jumps off the screen, the interesting small models he uses throughout are great to look at and the camera shots are nearly perfect.  Yet it is the story that is the best of them all.

                The story isn’t really about a womanizing gentleman running for his life with the help of a naïve young kid; it is more about the end of an age.  End of an age of gentlemanliness, which Fiennes brings to the forefront with his droll accent and commanding presence as he continues to pursue kindness, protecting others, speaking proper English so on.  It’s about a world that is lost amidst a coming war that will tear it apart.  The film is also about young love and the effect it can have on a man throughout his life and it is done in an incredibly touching way.  You are instantly drawn into this world and its characters and quickly care of their outcome, that’s really one of Anderson’s gifts in film making.  The story flows seamlessly with hardly an offbeat moment that slows the pacing down.  A truly fantastic modern movie of the loss of innocence in a harsh world surrounded by comedy and fun story telling.

                I cannot recommend this film highly enough.  There is a lot of language in the film, so know that going in.  If you are a fan of Wes Anderson this film will cause that fandom to expand greatly. 

3 and ½ stars out of 4

Posted in Review | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Terrific Trailer Tuesday: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’

captain american 2 poster

                This week the sequel to Marvel’s great Captain America: the First Avenger comes out.  While I will definitely be seeing it, I am weary because of the trailer below, that this will push some backwards liberal worldview that will make the film preachy and annoying.  I am hoping that I am grossly misunderstanding the trailer, because I love the Marvel movies.  Maybe the creators realized that conservatives have been rallying around just about every one of their films and their messages of personal responsibility, heroism and evil needing to be stopped that they just couldn’t let that stand and had to make another preachy film spouting stupid and naïve liberal talking points.  Here’s to hoping that the Captain doesn’t turn into some caricature of the Harry Reid’s of the world who declare defeat in the midst of victory.  We’ll see.

Posted in Terrific Trailer Tuesdays | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Little Buddy Review: ‘The Muppets Most Wanted’

muppets most wanted poster

                I made it absolutely clear in my review a few years back that I loathed the first installment of the new Muppets.  It was boring, used the cameo appearances with too much self awareness and overuse and of course had the stupid liberal talking points about who is evil in the world, big oil of course.  Yet it was used in such an over handed way that it made no sense.  Would Los Angeles really let a freaking oil man take over a building in the middle of the city and then let him drill for oil…IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY?  Sometimes the stupidity of the liberal mind just to preach to their audience is staggering.  Regardless of this I decided to go to the sequel because there didn’t look like there was an agenda this time.  So did that make any difference in the new generation of Muppets that is about Judd Apatow humor, sexual innuendo and a built in disdain for a big chunk of their audience or was it more of the same?

                Picking up right where the first one left off, the Muppets find themselves together again and wondering what they should do with their show.  Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) suggests to them a world tour that he would co-manage with Kermit.  Though Kermit is reluctant and would rather polish their acts, he is convinced to do the tour by the rest of the troupe.  Meanwhile, in a gulag in Siberia, the world’s most dangerous frog, Constantine, has escaped and plans on taking Kermit’s place while sending Kermit to jail for his crimes, which should be easy because they look so much alike.  Dominic and Constantine stage the new Muppets show world tour in different countries always next to their target to steal clues that will ultimately help them steal the crown jewels.  Kermit on the other hand is trying to figure out why his friends seem to have forgotten him as he gets used to life in the gulags.

                First off, much better than the first one, but still lacks the heart of the earlier films that I grew up on.  Voice acting and puppetering, while all good, but just don’t really bring anything new to the universe.   I think the use of CGI for some scenes instead of the inventive way Jim Henson would get his Muppets to do the impossible also takes you out of the universe of the Muppets.  The use of cameos again is overused and to little to no effect to the audience.  For example, one celebrity shows up and is very aware they are doing a cameo and points it out to the audience; it’s awful and not funny at all.  The original movies made such good use of the cameos that they were memorable.  Today they are there because that’s what everyone remembers from the originals and they are some of the worst parts of the movie.


                I’m thinking because of the way the first one was received, Disney decided that maybe you don’t want to do a media blitz where Muppet characters make fun of people.  There is absolutely no liberal sucker punches, no stupid liberal message, no media interviews where conservatives are made fun of, just a story that is meant to be fun and entertaining.  And it is, for the most part, especially the first 45 minutes or so.  After that though, it gets boring to an unnecessary extent.  I found myself as anxious to leave as my son did.  There were some really funny parts, especially from a scene with Kermit and Stanley Tucci (the only cameo that works), but the film seems to hit the brakes pretty hard and slowly crawl to the end.  The story wants to bring home the theme of family and being there for each other but it is never fully fledged out properly and is hurried along in the last few minutes.

                I just have to face the fact that the Muppets I knew and loved are really gone.  It will never be the same and I wish this would make them stop.  This one did have its moments, but when you look at the movie as a whole, they are not enough to save it from being something that’s just running through the motions hoping to make a lot of money.  Ah well, at least we still have the first four movies, original television shows and holiday specials to fall back on.

2 stars out of 4

Posted in Little Buddy Review, Review | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Terrific Trailer Tuesday: ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’

x men days of future past poster

             Are we seeing one of the biggest movies of the year or Bryan Singer’s latest flop?  Judge for yourself below.

Posted in Terrific Trailer Tuesdays | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Review: ‘Justice League: War’

justice league war poster

                A few years ago, DC Comics decided it was time to do a reboot of their famous comic book superheroes, from Superman to Aquaman and everyone in between in a run called The New 52.  They wanted to make the characters more “accessible” to a new generation and apparently that meant to make all of their characters, save Batman, selfish, egotistical jerks with hardly any redeeming value.  Who wants that in a hero?  Then again, what would you expect in the age of Obama?  When you’re taught by aged hippie parents and grandparents, teachers, television shows, movies, that you are the best thing to ever grace the human race, deserve a trophy for showing up, there are no consequences for your moronic decisions and shouldn’t be held accountable for anything because it is someone else fault…yep…sounds like the times we live in.  So, DC got it right there, but it makes for extremely boring storytelling and gives the “new” generation no one to look up to.  This movie puts all of this front and center for probably the worst DC comics’ animation movie to date.

                In Gotham City, a giant monster is kidnapping people and the City is blaming the Batman (Jason O’Mara).  Green Lantern (Justin Kirk) shows up in the city to help a woman who is not being abducted by Batman but by some alien creature who begins to attack the Green Lantern.  Batman shows up suddenly and saves Green Lantern and the two pursue the creature into the sewers where it explodes and leaves behind an odd alien box.  Another box shows up being delivered by Barry Allen aka The Flash (Christopher Gorham) to a government lab to be studied.  Batman and Green Lantern travel to Metropolis to question Superman (Alan Tudyk) about the alien box only to be attacked by him resulting in a small battle between the three before Superman agrees to help.  Meanwhile, Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan) is an ambassador to the United States hoping to meet the President to discuss peace.  They all find themselves being drawn together to fight the alien boxes creator, Darkseid (Steven Blum) who is planning an invasion on earth.

justice league war still

                Let’s talk about the art and voice work here before I begin to tear into this travesty.   The look of the film is fine and has some great action sequences that flow nicely.  Besides the stories horrible nature, it is the voice cast that is one of the worst as well.  Kirk’s Green Lantern has lines that seem like he is trying to make Hal Jordan, once one of the bravest men in the DC comic world, as an arrogant high school junior.  Alan Tudyk is unrecognizable as Superman and thankfully so, because it didn’t make me doubt he is almost always awesome in everything else.  Both Gorham and O’Mara are one note and really don’t flesh out the potential the characters of the Flash and Batman had.  The worst though is Michelle Monaghan, who is a great actor, but reads her lines just like she is reading from a piece of paper.  Whether her character, Wonder Woman, is calmly talking to a crowd, charging an enemy or feigning attraction to Superman, it is all in the same boring tone.  Actually in all cases, I blame it on the director, because these are all good to great actors who got George Lucas type direction.

                What a complete waste of time it was watching this horrible movie.  If anyone was ever introduced to these heroes for the first time through this film or the New 52 run in the comics…I cannot imagine why they would stick around.  These characters again save Batman who stays practically the same, are shallow, pretentious and hard to like.  Superman is horrible to people and seems to think that it’s an alright trait in a hero.  Wonder Woman is a spoiled and entitled brat with no concept of what a true hero is.  Green Lantern is the new wise cracking leap before you look guy and it doesn’t fit him at all.  Cyborg is created because he’s a teenager with daddy issues who throws a fit in a high security lab and thinks that trashing his dads’ project is justified even though it definitely looks like something you don’t want to throw a fit around.  All these heroes have lost what made them great and likeable in the first place, sacrificing, believing the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, humility, honor and integrity…all gone.  This is trash, but what do you expect when liberalism runs rampant?  You get wishy washy trash that’s what.

                Add a nice little sucker punch to the Tea Party and people who might disagree with the current government that added nothing to the story and you have another movie to pass on.  Tell a good story, leave your stupid ignorant liberal agenda out and make a hero or heroes the audience wants to root for, not make fun of.

1 star out of 4

Posted in Review | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Little Buddy Review: ‘Despicable Me 2′

despicable-me-2 poster

                Even though Pixar seems to be the reigning champ for all things animation when it comes to family films, there have been some very good ones outside of them.  Dreamworks has given us a lot over the years as well with only a handful of true hits like the Madagascar, Shrek and Kung Fu Panda franchises.  It is Illumination that is bringing up the rear so far with fifty fifty on what they’ve made so far.  Hop and the Lorax had decent reviews but will really not stand the test of time, but it’s one true franchise, Despicable Me, looks like it may be the big winner to come out of this company.  It was an out of nowhere hit when its first film came out.  It had only one true star voicing a character and it was a television star at that named Steve Carell.  In its initial release it made nearly four times its original budget, ensuring that it would get a sequel.  So how was that sequel?

                A mysterious flying magnet arrives over an arctic laboratory out of nowhere.  The machine steals a serum that changes cute cuddly animals into nasty mutated animals with a hunger for anything in their path and disappears without a trace.  Meanwhile, reformed criminal mastermind Gru (Steve Carell) and his adopted three girls are living happily in their neighborhood.   Gru and his minions are trying to start a legitimate business in jam production and the girls continue their bliss as a family, at least the two oldest.  The youngest, Agnes (Elsie Fisher) is struggling with her desire to have a mom in her life.   Agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig) helps in recruiting Gru in the Anti-Villain League to see who is behind the serum theft by using his connections with previous villains to find out who, in a local mall, may be the culprit.  Lucy and Gru investigate a few store owners including a familiar looking Mexican restaurant owner named Eduardo (Benjamin Pratt).  All the while, a mysterious figure is kidnapping numerous minions for unknown reasons.  Will Lucy and Gru find the super villain before they fulfill their plan and maybe fall in love in the process?

                While the first Despicable Me was a huge hit, I thought it was decent but not great.  This sequel however, for me, far surpasses its predecessor.   It looks better, the story is richer and there are a lot more funny bits.  The voice acting, as in the previous movie, is great with Carell and Fisher’s Agnes being the big highlights.  Kristen Wiig, who was in the first movie as the orphanage manager, is here in a new character and she brings the right amount of humor and innocence to her role that compliments Carrel very well.  Benjamin Bratt is a good addition and the minions are as funny as ever.  The look of the film seems brighter than the first one which is a big plus and the animation style continues to improve bringing much more depth to the world its set in.  The story however is the best part of the film.


                Like the first film, this one centers on what should be important in life.  Two of those importance’s are doing the right thing and the importance of relationships, especially familial ones.  Here though it explodes in a non-typical Hollywood way in supporting traditional family values.  What is missing in the girl’s life?  A mother and they know it and Gru begins to feel it as well and the story emphasizes this.  The girls need something more than half of a parental family and though they love their adoptive father, they see that something is missing to make them feel like a whole family.  Better yet, when it wouldn’t have been surprising to see them go another way with this and have a gay agenda to the film, they stress the traditional family as the solution.  Throughout the film family is important and the girls, especially Agnes, sees Lucy as the possible final piece to make their family complete.  Gru begins to see this too and a sweet and funny love story takes place.  It’s not only the family theme that is so great about this but the theme of good being the one that will always overcome evil.  The desire to never give up on that good goal, whatever the cost and or circumstances, is always a strong one.

                This was a great film for the entire family and an even better sequel than we usually get with animation films…I’m looking at you Ice Age.  Give it a shot if you haven’t.

3 stars out of 4

Posted in Little Buddy Review, Review | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Little Buddy Review: ‘The Lego Movie’

lego movie poster

Spoilers O Plenty

                I’m not sure there is a man among my generation that does not know the incredible awesomness of Lego.  I was partial to the castle series that had the big grey castles and the Robin Hood forest hideouts.  There was even a time where my brother and I grabbed my parent’s camcorder and tried to make a Lego movie of our own with stop motion that didn’t really look all that great.  After looking online at what one of our favorite sets is going for nowadays, we could be raking in the dough.  I have a giant carton full of Legos from my childhood that I can’t wait to break open when my son is old enough to enjoy them with me.  I’m now wondering why it took so long for there to be a Lego movie, but better late than never.  So how was the product after the long wait?

                Master Builder Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) is being attacked by Lord Business (Will Farrell) and his robots in order to steal the all powerful Kragle.  Lord Business is successful, but Vitruvius tells him about a prophecy that the Special will find the Piece of Resistance that will stop the Kragles power.  Eight years later we meet Emmet (Chris Pratt), an overly ordinary construction worker who soon finds himself stuck, quite literally, with the Piece of Resistance when chasing down a beautiful trespasser named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks).  He soon finds himself being chased by Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) and soon meets Vitruvius who tells Emmet he is the Special.  Emmet and group, joined also by Princess Unikitty (Alison Brie), Benny the Spaceman (Charlie Day) and Batman (Will Arnett) try to stop Lord Business before he destroys the world as they know it.

                Before getting into the meat of my review I wanted to express extreme disappointment in fellow conservative reviews and some Christian ones who have stated that this movie is anti-capitalism, big business is bad, propaganda.  Just like their reaction to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs being “global warming propaganda” which it wasn’t, there was a knee jerk reaction by some to label this film some liberal message film that it wasn’t.  Hollywood may be full of a bunch of intellectually inept people with barely a high school education who love to preach to and look down on those who disagree with them, but when it comes to their preachiness they are not subtle.  They hit you over the head with it, whether it is anti-war tripe like Green Zone or universal healthcare/the rich are evil nonsense like Elysium, they hit the audience over the head ad nauseum for ninety minutes or more.  There was none of that here and if a scene of overpriced coffee is what you consider propaganda then you’re searching for a reason to roll your eyes at Hollywood, an entity that deserves more and more of that each day, but not here.  The film is about something entirely different and it is extremely touching and a wonderful message.

lego movie still

                It is very unusual to have a movie released this early in the year that is a tremendous hit, but here it is in the form of a very family friendly film.  It has a great story, phenomenal look and tight pacing as well as being one of the better voice cast’s for an animated film in quite some time.  Chris Pratt brings his innocent everyman character from Parks and Recreation and gives him even more heart in this film.  Morgan Freeman is also great, no surprise there for voiceover work, but he is also very funny when he needs to be.  Adding more to the fun is Charlie Day who brings the Spaceman Lego character we all remember to life with hilarious effect.  Alison Brie and Elizabeth Banks do a great job here as well.  The casting of Brie as the overly cheerful Unikitty who might have some anger issues was the absolute perfect choice for the character.  The decision to create this world with everything made out of Lego pieces was not only genius but very well fleshed out with every little detail, even water dropping out of a cup, being used to great effect.

                The overall story the film is one that is heartwarming and extremely touching when talking about a father/son relationship.  Here’s where I spoil the ending because I loved it and want to talk about it.  The whole movie is in a young boy’s imagination and the bad guy is how he sees his father.  Lord Business is his father, straight arrow, hard worker, plays by the rules and does not stray, there is a way provided and that’s the way you need to do it.  The father has become so rigid in his adult life that he has forgotten how to truly play with Lego’s, his imagination is gone.  It takes his son to show him what a gift imagination can be.  As the father seeks to put back together, the “proper” way, what his son has changed he finds his lost connection with his son and is sitting in front of a way to grow in their relationship.  It could be seen as the Grinch’s heart growing three times that day and it’s incredible.  He becomes heartbroken in how his son sees him and the way Will Farrell plays it on the screen is great.  You see the pain in his eyes in the way he has affected his sons view of him, which is a man who is a detached and coldly matter of fact father.  His son craves his father’s attention and he realizes he needs to give that to him.  It was a powerful scene.  The story is also about imagination and the fantastic theme that when one has a truly special quality that should be celebrated, you encourage that in them.  It’s a great meaning and a great theme to share.  But still greater is showing how a father needs to connect with their child or vice versa.  That is poignant and welcome in a society that, more and more, seeks to tear down the traditional and right view of what a family is.  It’s a rare and welcome thing in today’s cinema.

                Great film with no presence of anything offensive.  Funny, touching and a great time alone, with a friend or with the family.

3 and ½ stars out of 4

Posted in Little Buddy Review, Review | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment