The animated musical adventures center on the perpetually happy Trolls who are hunted by the miserable Bergens who believe the only happiness they can achieve is from eating the colorful creatures infatuated with hugs, dancing, singing, scrapbooking, cupcakes, and rainbows. When her loud party gets several of her friends captured, it falls on Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and the morose Branch (Justin Timberlake) to bring them home.
Trolls borrows several key elements of its plot from The Smurfs (such as an evil giant obsessed with eating the delicious creatures). Big and bright without being all that memorable, Trolls is more kiddie movie than true family fare.
The movie’s eclectic pop soundtrack features new songs by Timberlake and several recognizable tunes from the likes of Lionel Richie, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, Kool & the Gang, and others. The big numbers and bright characters help make the predictable story a little easier to swallow. The movie is at best a modest success with a nice message for younger viewers about finding happiness within.
The teaser trailer for Cars 3 suggests a grittier sequel than some may have been expecting. Owen Wilson returns as the voice of Lightning McQueen who it appears will have to overcome some new challenges to prove he’s still the best racer around. As a huge fan of the first film, I’m intrigued to find out what Pixar has in store for the franchise. Cars 3 opens in theaters on June 16th.
This movie is fucked up. Offering us a glimpse into the lives on anthropomorphic food and other assorted items in a grocery store who sing about the promised land after being bought by god-like humans, Sausage Party follows the misadventures of a hot dog named Frank (Seth Rogen) and his friends (Michael Cera, Kristen Wiig, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, and Salma Hayek) who discover the truth about what really happens to food in the kitchen. Wrong in (mostly) all the right ways, it has to be seen to be believed.
Offering an inspired amount of cursing and obvious jokes (the bagel doesn’t get along with the lavash, the douche is, well, a real douche) along with several genuinely funny moments, the script by Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Rogen, and Evan Goldberg gets too infatuated with sexual innuendo at times (and ignores the inevitable truth of what will happen to all the characters), but while it lasts Sausage Party delivers an animated experience unlike anything you’ve seen before on the big screen.
Harry Potter Lite? Based on the spin-off novella by J.K. Rowling, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the first Harry Potter movie without Harry Potter. Taking place decades before Harry’s birth, the story is set in New York with wizard Newt Scamander’s (Eddie Redmayne) arrival in the city with a suitcase full of magical creatures. When some of Scamander’s creatures escape he attempts to hunt them down with the help of some new friends.
It would be easy to look at Bleed for This and dismiss it as nothing more than another inspirational sports movie adapting a real-life athlete’s adversity into a feature film. However, that would be a mistake. Bleed for This is better than I expected as the tale of world-champion boxer Vinny Pazienza‘s (Miles Teller) rise, fall, and struggle to reclaim his dream turns out to be worth all the sports cliches you find in such films.
After the action of Jozef and Jan’s arrival, the pair settle in for the long haul while bidding their time to take down the third highest-ranking Nazi and one of the leading minds behind the Final Solution. The script by director Sean Ellis and Anthony Frewin is a slow build to the film’s climactic scene inside Prague’s Orthodox Cathedral of Saints Cyril and Methodius. While the pacing might seem slow in spots, Ellis keeps the film moving and the payoff to the set-up is one of the more memorable action sequences of the year.
The first full-length trailer for the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast offers us glimpses of Belle (Emma Watson), the Beast (Dan Stevens), Gaston (Luke Evans), and some of the enchanted inhabitants of the Beast’s castle. The film opens in theaters on March 17th.
If Mel Gibson‘s Hacksaw Ridge takes an up-close look at the unflinching brutality of trench warfare, Eye in the Sky examines the more modern detachment to battle while debating the morality of this kind of war. Centered around a proposed (and much debated) drone strike, director Gavin Hood‘s film offers us bureaucracy rather than a high body count and the age-old moral dilemma of just how much a single life is worth.
Pulling in characters from multiple countries, the story itself boils down to Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren), her mission to take down high-valued terrorist targets, and how politics, bureaucracy, and a local girl (Aisha Takow) selling bread inside the target zone threaten to derail her plans. While Powell is steadfast in the mission, others spend the movie debating the merits of their actions along with the legal and moral implications (to such an extent the movie feels at times more like a treatise on drone warfare than a film).