Into the Woods review


A wicked curse put on a baker’s family causes him and his wife to interact in four fairy tales simultaneously in Disney’s musical flick, Into the Woods.

James Corden and Emily Blunt star as the baking duo visited by the witch (Meryl Streep) that placed an enchantment on the family not allowing them to have children. They make a deal to end the spell if the two can obtain four magical items. One from Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy), and Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) from Jack and the Beanstalk.

There are just dialogue scenes to help drive the story but the numerous songs also helps paint the direction of the film and insight on the inner feelings of characters. Certain performances such as Johnny Depp’s portrayal of The Wolf and the two princes singing together stand out, although for different reasons. Depp comes off as a sinister creature savouring the notion of eating a young girl and her grandma. The villains come across dark, while the heroes are a bit goofy even when trying to be dramatic.

Traditional values are sacrificed making the stories a bit fresher. Mostly the fairy tales follow their original paths with extra interaction from the bakers. The songs get intertwined with different characters giving a sense of them all connecting eventually. The music brings many emotions out of the characters, not always cheery or gleeful. Enjoyment in the flow of the music will give moviegoers their money’s worth.

 

 

Big Hero 6 review


A young genius teams with a healthcare robot to battle a mysterious force blamed for deaths and robbery of a powerful invention in the new Disney animated movie, Big Hero 6.

Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) has graduated high school at the age of 13 and now spends his time in shady places where illegal gambling on robot battles goes down. His older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) tells Hiro to stop wasting his gifted intelligence and brings him to his lab at university to get Hiro interested in applying for registering.

After meeting Tadashi’s friends and their inventions, Hiro meets Tadashi’s invention Baymax (Scott Adsit). Baymax is a robotic nurse that has the ability to scan the illness or physical ailments on a person. His calm bland personality causes some awkward and funny moments with Hiro. They start to bond when Tadashi dies in an explosion along with Hiro’s invention. Baymax downloads information on emotional pain and embarks on a journey to help cure Hiro’s sadness.

Both Hiro and Baymax find a masked man using Hiro’s invention as a weapon against them. They survive the first encounter and the rematch. Tadashi’s friends eventually come to Hiro’s aid and form a super team.

Exciting action with a dash of humour keeps the evolving story enjoyable. Baymax’s dry mannerisms and shift to superhero are the best parts of this film. This continues Disney producing more realistic emotional moments instead of characters that only exist in fairytale worlds. Human loss, the craving for vengeance, and the desire to help when help is needed, Hiro is not a perfect hero, he is only human.

Fun family experience that is the best animated watch for 2014 in theatres.

 

 

Ouija review


A board game, believed to be a way to communicate with the dead, has put a group of teens in a supernatural fight for their lives in the new movie, Ouija.

Laine (Olivia Cooke) and Debbie (Shelley Hennig) played when they were kids. However, as young adults Debbie is found dead one night after unsuccessfully trying to burn Ouija. At first everyone believes it was suicide, but Laine finds video footage of Debbie rediscovering their former adventure before her untimely demise. Rounding up her boyfriend Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), her sister Sarah (Ana Coto). Debbie’s ex Pete (Douglas Smith), and her friend Isabelle (Bianca Santos), Laine tries to play Ouija to try and speak to Debbie.

Unfortunately, they end up contacting Debbie’s killer causing all their lives to be terrorized no matter where they go.

At times the music and the dark backgrounds can create suspenseful moments and jolt you from your seat. The death scenes are arguably the best moments due to how sudden and violent they are. Not heavy on blood or body parts flying all over the place. Focuses more on terror then a quick death.

A lot of attention is put on the characters coping with Debbie’s death. The film would have felt more realistic if there was more on the school dealing with the increase of apparent suicides. The teens seem to be able to do whatever they want with no authority watching over them.

Worth a few chills, nothing groundbreaking from the usual scary movie, scarier for those that have played Ouija.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day review


A birthday wish curses Alexander Cooper’s entire family as he watches each go through extreme mishaps in the new Disney movie, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Alexander (Ed Oxenbuld) had a day where pretty much everything went wrong. He embarrassed himself in front of the girl he likes and his class, no one is going to his birthday party, and his family is busy with their own lives to give him much attention. He wishes on a birthday sundae that they could experience his pain.

The movie is a lot of fun because Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner play great parents. Carell as Ben whom is always optimistic and tries to positive and funny. Garner as Kelly is always trying to be politically correct and professional. Kelly works while Ben is unemployed taking care of the baby. When disasters hit the family they do whatever they can to keep their clan going. Eldest son Anthony (Dylan Minette) gets a pimple before prom, their daughter (Kerris Dorsey) gets sick before her big part as Peter Pan in the school play, the baby gets green marker all over his face, they deal with it along with their own problems.

Although it might sound a bit too dramatized the film feels like this is what a family goes through. Days when nothing goes right and your mom sees your penis. The funny moments, mainly with Carell, followed by a bit of harsh reality is the best parts. It feels like the writers had a good understanding what goes through the mind of a middle child almost on the verge of being a teen. Eerily familiar personally.

Highly recommend this flick as it was surprisingly highly enjoyable. One of the sleeper hits of the year.

Muppets Most Wanted review

A evil Kermit the Frog look-alike and Ricky Gervais are taking the Muppets on a world tour of shows and secret burglary while real Kermit is in a Russian jail in the new movie, Muppets Most Wanted.

Gervais plays Dominic Badguy, an international manager that is getting the Muppets booked in better places than Kermit (Steve Whitmire) and getting them sold out quite easily. Kermit, feeling useless and ignored, decides to take Dominic on his offer for a nightly stroll.

On the walk, Kermit confronts his double a wanted criminal, Constantine, and is easily defeated. Constantine disguises his mole and puts one on Kermit to completely throw everyone off on their identities. Kermit is thrown into a Siberian prison controlled by Nadya (Tina Fey) with inmates Danny Trejo, WWE’s Hornswoggle, Josh Groban, and others.

Meanwhile the Muppets are having a lot of success with the fake Kermit, who is stealing from important buildings during the performances to find an ultimate treasure.

There’s some funny typical Muppets back-and-forth dialogue, lots of songs, an insane amount of cameos, this eight Muppets movie delivers what you’d expect. The story is not best one as it feels so ridiculous the emotional heartfelt scenes are not as compelling.

A good family watch that kids will enjoy as there’s enough action, mischief and silly moments to keep a young audience entertained. Fey, Trejo and even Hornswoggle deliver hilarious musical performances, some of which are arguably the best moments in the film.

Far from the best Muppets adventure, but if you’re looking for more of the same you won’t be disappointed.

Disney’s Frozen Blu-ray combo pack review

A powerful secret magical ability has kept a princess isolated from society and her own sister in order to protect them from potential destruction in the new Disney Blu-ray release, Frozen.

The Academy Award winning flick stars Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel), Elsa is the one with the ability to freeze, shoot snow & ice, and create winter-like creatures because for an unknown reason she is magical. Her sister Anna is not.

As the king and queen died, Elsa was set to be crowned queen. This gave Anna the chance to leave the castle and interact with people for the “First Time in Forever.” In her song and dance she runs into Hans (Santino Fontana) a charming prince that she believes is her true love. Anna confronts her sister about this leading to Elsa’s magic getting exposed and turning the entire land into an endless winter.

Elsa flees the castle and hides in the mountains. Anna embarks on a mission to save her and ends up meeting an ice seller named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) who is the complete opposite of the love of her life, but the two settle their differences quickly in order to survive the cold and wildlife.

Frozen is a fun engaging story for children and adults that enjoyed the classic Disney movies. With a memorable selection of songs and gorgeous backgrounds, this film is a perfect addition to greats such as Lion King, Aladdin, and so on. This movie sets the standard for high quality animation. The humour provided by the snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) adds an extra element of awkwardness that is also commonly found in past Disney titles.

Not a lot in terms of extras. There’s a few deleted scenes with introductions to all of them, a musical presentation of how the film was made, music videos and trailers fill up the rest. It does feel like Disney held back on bonus content in order to comeback with a grander collector’s edition in a few years from now.

Best release by Disney in years, a must have.

Frozen

Rated PG

Disney Animation Studios

Run time of 102 minutes

Frozen [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Bilingual)

Guardians of the Galaxy review


Five outcasts band together to keep a powerful planet destroying orb out of an evil tyrant’s hands and into the hands of someone with a lot of money in Marvel’s new movie, Guardians of the Galaxy. Chris Pratt stars as Star Lord, an unsuccessful space thief who steals an orb that can destroy life instantly if it falls into the wrong hands. Enter Ronan (Lee Pace), an obsessed power hungry maniac doing the bidding for super villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) until he can gain more power than Thanos. Ronan sends Thanos’ half daughter Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to retrieve the orb from Star Lord, but ends up battling a raccoon named Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and a one-line talking tree named Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). The four of them end up in jail where they put their differences aside, at least long enough to keep Gamora from getting killed by the inmates and Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bautista). Drax’s wife and daughter were killed by Ronan and getting revenge is his main objective. Fortunately, Star Lord is able to convince him not to and in the meantime Rocket comes up with an amazing escape plan. The action in 3D is the incredible standard Marvel comes out with. What makes this movie special is the amount of character interaction and engaging conversations the five misfits have with each other. It feels like there is a lot going on all the time that you have to pay attention to everything on screen. Star Lord’s obsession with ’80s music, Drax always serious demeanor, the odd friendship of Rocket and Groot, and the relationship between Star Lord and Gamora, the heroes trying to work together is more entertaining than them trying to save the galaxy. Marvel movie lovers will not be disappointed and this film has the potential to be the biggest summer release. It is worth watching more than once in theatres.

Maleficent review


Evil is born with a broken heart and a lust for revenge in, Maleficent, a different twist from the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty featuring glorious 3D fight scenes and landscapes.

Angelina Jolie stars as the legendary villain who in this version of the story was the true hero. King Stefan (Sharlto Copley) was the villain that betrayed her and stole her heart. Stefan gave her companionship as a child and her first kiss. Greed kept Stefan away for a time. Greed brought him back and turned Maleficent’s heart cold.

The curse scene stays true to the original, powerful acting by Jolie and Copley during it.

Afterwards lots of revisions. Maleficent is one taking care of Aurora (Elle Fanning) while her protectors argue. She changes her mind on the curse but cannot break it. All the while Stefan grows in paranoia and insomnia.

Disregard how the original played out and enjoy the adventure presented. Lord of the Rings grand-style fight scenes, dazzling lively backgrounds and magical creatures galore. Despite a PG rating there is some dark and violent moments. The torture the twisted king and demented fairy put each other through is accompanied with chilling music and hateful intentions.

Disney usually delivers when it comes to bringing back classic characters with a fresh look. Worked for the wizard of Oz with evil also created with a broken heart and human greed. The special effects are so good the story does not have to be filled with character depth. 97 minutes goes so by so quick because the movie is highly enjoyable just to look at.

Children not easily tormented by nightmares can watch this. Teens and adults can definitely enjoy the action, fantasy, and the intrigue on how this revised tale ends up. Disney is going in the right direction with films like this.

Million Dollar Arm review


With his career as a sports agent on the brink of collapse, JB Bernstein pitches a radical new idea for a reality show called Million Dollar Arm to find MLB pitchers in India.

The movie starts off with Bernstein (Jon Hamm) losing his top client to competition and begins to create doubt in his staff and himself that his agency can stay float. While watching a game of cricket and switching channels to see the rise of Susan Boyle, Bernstein gets the idea of how he can save his business. Bernstein starts a talent search for TV giving two kids in India a chance at playing in MLB. The search is aimed at finding cricket players and trying to convert them into baseball players after the two throw the fastest and most accurate pitches.

However, Rinku (Suraj Sharma) and Dinesh (Madhur Mittal) the eventual winners of the competition do not play cricket and do not even like the sport. A minor detail that Bernstein hides from the media.

The transition for the players to the North America lifestyle  and Bernstein having a relationship with his tenant Brenda (Lake Bell) are the focal points for the rest of the film. Bernstein is use to dating models while Brenda finds a random hunk at the hospital she works at. They have their differences in terms of values, but they clearly have a lot of similarities. The language, understanding baseball, and getting the attention of Bernstein are the main issues for Rinku and Dinesh.

Jon Hamm is the main selling point of this movie. His struggles, failures, mistakes, take up the most of the run time. He’s no Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise that can deliver a performance everyone will remember, but he still delivers a solid character that can make you feel for him.

Neighbors review


Milking tits, clay penises, shooting fireworks at a police car, baby playing with a condom, there is a lot of sexy violence as a family and fraternity go to war in the new flick, Neighbors.

Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne) have just bought their new house and are trying to have sex all over it without their baby Stella (Elise & Zoey Vargas) watching. Their dream life hits a detour when a fraternity led by Ted (Zack Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco) move in next door.

At first there is peace as Mac gives the boys some of his weed. His wife awkwardly tells them to keep it down at night, and of course they don’t. After calling the cops and breaking the trust they tried to establish, the Radners are on the receiving end of some nasty pranks.

Juvenile in their own way, the Radners plot to get the fraternity kicked out of their residence by destroying their place, making them turn on each other, and eventually invading the house with explosive results.

From start to finish this is a bunch of silly skits put together to make a long movie. Rogen and Byrne have the best and most skits together with Efron and Franco having a few memorable ones. There’s a bit of drama involved, but overall it’s too silly to take seriously for any long stretches. This was the best way to go with the film’s direction as the outrageous parts are what make this so enjoyable.

You’re always wondering how funny this can get it and it delivers spectacularly. It’s hard not to laugh. Best comedy so far this year and one of best featuring Seth Rogen in the lead role. Neighbors might be too edgy and offensive to some. Yet, if you’re watching a Rogen movie you should expect absolute chaos.