Friday, April 8, 2022

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Familyfaire: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022) PG  Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) is living the life with Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter). Things are great until Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) finds his way back to Earth with a new ally, the mean and strong Knuckles (Idris Elba). However, Sonic has allies of his own, including a new friend named Tails (Collen O’Shanussy), and they are ready to take on Robotnik and save the Earth from his madness. I will start off this review with a bold statement: No film whose primary audience will be children should be over 90 minutes. Sonic 2 breaks this rule with a running time of 2 hours and 2 minutes. Think about that before spending good money taking your six-year-old to see this film. Then add in the fact this film has a sub-plot which takes so long to connect to the main plot that you will wonder why it’s there, and even after the connection, you will still wonder why? Most of the fun of the first film was Jim Carey going nuts with the ab-libs. The filmmakers seemed to forget that when making this unfunny, slow, tiresome film. Carey is wasted as he is sometimes forced to play 2nd banana to another animated character, Knuckles, voiced by Idris Elba. To show how low this film stoops to make a joke, the first sequence in the movie is filled with fart jokes, which I know, will make the kids chuckle but may make their parents regret paying for a ticket to sit in a theatre for 2 hours. By the way, there is a mid-credits sequence that sets up the next film. Yea!….no one in the theater said.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again    Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Ambulance (2022) R   Will (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is desperate for money to cover his wife’s mounting medical bills. Will goes to a man who he knows he shouldn’t trust, his adoptive brother Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal), a man with a criminal past. Danny talks Will into helping him rob a bank, but things go wrong, and they are now running from the police in an ambulance with a wounded cop clinging to life and an EMT (Elza Gonzalez) on board. In the 90s, filmmaker Michael Bay ruled with hits such as Bad Boys, The Rock, and Armageddon. Then he went down the rabbit hole of the Transformers movies (five in all) and got lost in the giant machines from outer space and childhood. Now he returns with an action film taking place in the streets of LA, with a bank heist that goes wrong. Half (seems like more) of the film is a chase sequence between the police and an ambulance in the streets of LA. To say that this film is over the top would be an understatement. Using way too many drone shots, we go a fast race through the streets of LA, a town that Michael Bay loves (the opening scene tells us that when the name Los Angeles then shrinks down to just LA on the screen). I felt sorry for the other two main actors, Eiza Gonzalez and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who had to put up with Jake Gyllenhaal going nuts on the screen for the entire movie. The action sequences are sometimes thrilling, but how many times can you see a cop car crash? I will say this; this film has some of the shortest credits I’ve seen in a long time, I think, because most of the action was done with real cars and not done with special effects. If you love car crashes, you will get your fill in this film. The plot is way beyond the point of ridiculous (I can’t tell you how many times I shook my head in wonderment), the acting is horrible, and the ending is so unbelievable that it seems to be taking place in an alternate universe. Let's just put this out there; can you really carry 16 million dollars in cash in two backpacks? Well, in Michael Bay’s LA, you can.   My Rating: Cable   Ambulance Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Indiefest: Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) R  Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) is an unhappy laundry-mat owner, married to Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), and has an adult daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu), of who she disapproves of. While at an IRS audit, Evelyn is suddenly thrust into an adventure where she alone can save the world by exploring other universes connecting with the lives she could have led. I will start this review by telling you, run, don’t walk to your theatre and see this film! I can’t tell you the last time I had so much fun watching a movie and how much it kept surprising me with every scene. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a joy to watch, a film that is hard to describe but is a fast-moving adventure that explores what it means to love, to believe in not only yourself but your loved ones, and how one person, no matter how unimportant they feel, can make a difference in the world. I have been a big fan of Michelle Yeoh, in such action films as Supercop and The Stunt Woman, before she hit the big time in America with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Yeoh gives us a multi-faceted performance as a woman who is so unhappy in her life that she takes it out on the people that she loves. An ordinary shop owner is asked to save the world from destruction, and Yeoh’s character goes on a journey that takes her to many alternate lives and worlds, where Evelyn discovers that she does have it in her to battle for the safety of the world and the people who she loves. This is one of those magical films that, five minutes in, you won’t want it to end. So sit down in a theatre seat and go on an adventure that you soon won’t forget with Evelyn as she battles to save our reality.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Everything Everywhere All at Once Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Indiefest: Mothering Sunday   (2021) R  Jane (Odessa Young) is a maid working for a wealthy family in post-World War I England and has many secrets. She has ambitions to be a writer and is having a long-term affair with an up-and-coming lawyer (Josh O’Connor) who is about to marry another woman. Mothering Sunday is a film about love lost and how being left behind can be the hardest blow. Odessa Young gives a subtle but powerful performance about a young woman who dreams of something more than being a maid. She has the drive and the talent to be a writer, but she must believe in herself, and it’s a love lost that finally gives her that push. This is a film about how grief can destroy us, overpower us, or it can be what propels us to move on, honoring those lost with our acts and deeds. Mothering Sunday is a film that is a slow burn, revealing its tale like the lazy Sunday morning that it takes place in.   My Rating: Full Price  Mothering Sunday Website  Now playing in select theaters.

Indiefest: The Rose Maker (2020)   Eve (Catherine Frot) is a rose grower that inherited her farm from her famous father. The farm is now on the verge of bankruptcy, and Eve is trying to hold off being bought out by a powerful competitor. Nevertheless, Eve is determined to turn her fortunes around and just might have found the help she needs in the form of three men who come to the farm on a work-release program. The Rose Maker is a charming tale about perseverance, learning new things, and being willing to take a chance on people you might typically not want to be around. Catherine Frot gives us a woman in Eve who is headstrong and set in her ways but knows deep down that to survive, she must adapt. She takes on a group of people who society has beaten down and gives them a purpose and challenge that makes not only them but Eve herself a better person. The film is a little formulative, and its’ plot is predictable, but that’s fine because the performances overshadow the film’s flaws and make it a worthy journey to find the perfect rose, even if it appears in the most unexpected places.   My Rating: Full Price   The Rose Maker Website   Now playing in select theatres.

My View: Metal Lords (2022)   Two friends, Hunter (Adrian Greensmith) and Kevin (Jaeden Martell), decide to form a heavy-metal band in order to enter a Battle of the Bands contest. Consequently, they need a bass player, and their only hope is a cellist with a bad attitude named Emily (Isis Hainsworth). This is a fun little film about three misfits that find each other and, against the odds, work to make music together, although that music is heavy-metal. I loved these characters, reminding me of some of the people I knew in high school when music was one of the most important aspects of our lives and defined who we were. Hunter is a one-track kid who believes that he is destined to become a ‘Metal God .’Keven, a mild-mannered kid, who joined the band to get out of P.E., is just happy that he has a friend and is willing to go along with Hunter’s dream just so he can support his friend. Along comes Emily, a young girl who is also an outcast, primarily due to her outbursts of anger and profanity. Kevin sees that there is more to Emily than anger and tries to convince Hunter that she would be perfect for their band. Metal Lords is a film about finding your place in the world and trying to be the best you can, even if the world thinks you are nuts. So join the band and shake your head violently because we can all use a little metal in our lives.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Metal Lords Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

Indiefest: Aline (2020) PG-13 Aline is about a young woman (ValĂ©rie Lemercier) who dreams of becoming a singer. With the support of her large family and the man she loves, Aline will become one of the most famous singers in the world. So the best way to describe this film is that it is a fan film of Celine Dion. The singer isn’t Celine Dion, but in almost every way, from being discovered as a child singer to a marriage to a man way older than her to her singing My Heart Will Go On at the Academy Awards, it is Celine’s career. The film does a strange tiptoe following the life of Dion without saying it’s her. A lot will be written about the bizarre start to this film, including a just a jaw-dropping scene where a four-year-old Aline appears with Lemercier’s face on it (it happens a few times more until Aline gets into her 20s). The film jams a bunch of Dion’s career into it, most of which we know. It’s a strange film about a person who is real, but the film wants us to believe it is fiction. The biggest problem isn’t the blurring of fact, and fiction is that Valerie Lemercier doesn’t have the star power or singing talent to pull off what made Celine Dion a star.   My Rating: Cable   Aline Website  Now playing in select theatres.

Forgotten Film: Pop Aye (2017)   Thana (Thaneth Warakulnukroh) is an unhappy man in a job that he doesn’t like. Thana has a chance encounter with an elephant. As strange as that sounds, Thana knows this elephant as they grew up together on a farm. Thana decides to leave his life behind and take the elephant named Popeye on a journey across Thailand to the home that they both love. Pop Aye is a warm and moving film where the best actor in the movie is the elephant, which isn’t to say that the actor playing Thana is bad. It’s just that the elephant is the best thing about this film, making this film work, as the two have a connection on screen that makes this walkabout go a long way.   My Rating: Full Price    Pop Aye Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Everything Everywhere All at Once: Raccoon Fabricator

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: The Duke (2020) R  A priceless painting has been stolen from the National Gallery, Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington. Was it a master thief? A gang of thieves working for an underground collector? No, it was Kempton Bunton (Jim Broadbent), a 60-year-old taxi driver who has hidden the painting in his wife’s closet. The film is based on a true story and stars Broadbent and Helen Mirren. I think that’s all you need to know to see this film.    The Duke Website

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