The hero's nerdy sidekick prevents genre blindness by identifying the hero's journey as a magical spirit quest.
Roger (Jeff Daniels - ) and Anita ( Joely Richardson ) are thirty-somethings who live in London. They meet up because their pet dalmatian dogs have a liking for each other. Luckily this is not a simple Rom-Com, so the romance is dealt with in the First Act and the story is allowed to move on.
The dalmatians produce a litter of puppies. These come to the attention of Anita's boss Cruella deVill ( Glenn Close ) - a sadistic narcissist who is obsessed with fur coats. Naturally the good guys refuse to sell her the puppies. She deploys her minions, a well-cast group of British comedy actors - Tim McInnerny ( Dr Who ), Hugh Laurie ( Stuart Little ) and Mark Williams ( Red Dwarf ). There is also a new character, a scary fellow aptly named Mister Skinner (John Shrapnel - ).
The story is established through the eyes of the human characters. However, after the puppies get abducted the viewpoint switches to the dogs. This is true to the original book, but the portrayal is slightly off. The twilight barking, when dogs transmit messages over long distances, is shown. Of course, unlike in the books we do not hear the dogs talking, or even see subtitles of their words. Instead everything has to be gained from the context.
Not only are the dogs able to communicate with each other, but entirely different species as well. For example, despite being in rural England there are American animals like playful racoons and a stench-squirting skunk.
The animals manage to rescue the puppies. Naturally the human villains come after them. Luckily, the animals are able to coordinate a series of messy ambushes that lead to a lot of slapstick scenes. Amazing to think that the actors involved have established a serious award-winning pedigree for themselves.
Meanwhile, the humans' only real response is to call the police. Amazingly, the cops manage to take the time to investigate the dog-napping. On the word of the distraught dog-owners they get multiple squad-cars and conduct searches (presumably with the required legal warrants) and arrests.
(Ryan Kwanten - True Blood ) gets dumped by his girlfriend. His flatmates Eric (Steve Zahn - ) and Hung (Peter Dinklage - Game of Thrones ) try to cheer him up by taking him to a Live Action Roleplay (LARP) event. The rest of the team includes Danny Pudi ( Captain America: Winter Soldier ) and Summer Glau , while the Game Master is Jimmi Simpson ( Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ).
Our all-star cast go on a merry quest. Naturally, a demon gets accidentally summoned and predictably goes on a killing spree. However, this is well handled and the resulting film is an above-average effort.
Professor Sherman Klump (Eddie Murphy - The Golden Child ) is an amiable, grossly obese scientist who works in an American University. He seems happy enough, teaching classes and working on a research project to discover a way to shut off the obesity genes. In other words, he is making a secret formula to make people skinny.
Sherman meets Jada Pinkett (Smith) , and assumes that he is too fat for her. Basically he thinks she is out of his league. After a particularly bad case of fat-shaming by a stand-up comedian (Dave Chapelle - Con Air), Sherman decides to test his formula on himself.
The formula works, and Sherman loses half his bodyweight almost instantly. Since nobody will recognise him in his new form, Sherman decides to call himself Buddy Love. Somehow, the slimmer version of Sherman turns out to be a completely different personality. As a result, he developes a terrible case of split-personality syndrome.
Captain Patrick Wilson ( Watchmen ) is estranged from his boyfriend Matthew Morrison (Glee).
The other crew members include:
The result is a poor story, but it gives excuse to some shockingly funny (or just shocking) jokes.
It turns out our hero is haunted by a dark past. This is basically a comedy about a seral killer. It has very dark subject matter, but manages to pull the comedy off quite well.
Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller - Zoolander ) is a daydreamer trapped in a dead-end job. He wants to impress a female co-worker ( Kristen Wiig ) and follow in the footsteps of his idol, photo-journalist Sean Penn ( Gangster Squad ). This involves going on an epic trek to Iceland, where he fails to realise that a volcano is about to erupt.
Wiig is an established comedy performer in her own right. Unfortunately she does not get the chance to show this off, although she does get to sing a song.
Doctor Frankenstein (Gene Wilder - ) is the grandson of the infamous Baron. He inherits that castle and its contents, as well as Igor (Marty Feldman - Yellowbeard ) - the grandson of the Baron's assistant.
Frankenstein eventually falls prey to his ancestor's madness. He decides to create the perfect man, and ends up with a Monster (Peter Boyle - Species 2 ). The real problem is that Igor used an abnormal brain. Well, that is always the problem. However, Frankenstein tries to cure the creature's monsterous tendencies.
Nobby must become a secret agent himself, but predictably makes a mess of things and accidentally seduces Precious from American Horror Story: Coven .
Martin gets talked into attending his High School Reunion, tempted by the thought of seeing his former girlfriend Debi ( Minnie Driver ), and his old buddies Paul (Jeremy Piven - ) and Bob (Michael Cudlitz - The Walking Dead ).
Unfortunately Martin gets tailed by a couple of Federal Agents, Lardner (Hank Azaria - Godzilla (1998) ) and McCullers (K. Todd Freeman - Buffy: Season 3 ). Also, a hitman named Felix (Benny Urdiquez - ) is out for Martin's blood.
When it came out in 1997, this was one of the best films of the year. However, it has faded quite a lot in the mean time. The story is simplistic, the humour is subtle, it is all quite understated. The result is that what was once thrilling and original is now nothing more than a mildly entertaining comedy-thriller.
Our hero's investigation is dogged by a mysterious femme fatale ( Natalie Imbruglia ). The clues lead him to a creepy billionaire (John Malkovich - ).
Isla is suspicious of the new neighbours. They are too glamourous and competent for suburbia. It turns out that she is right, and they are not what they seem.
Most people in the suburb work in the same company as Zach - a military contractor doing top-secret work. It turns out that someone is leaking info to an arms dealer named The Scorpion (Patton Oswalt - Agents of SHIELD ). The suburban couple must go undercover as glamourous secret agents in order to catch the villain and save the day.
For a comedy, this film has quite a body-count. The so-called heroes think nothing of shooting up an entire floor of a Las Vegas hotel. The movie may have been made a few years before the 2017 massacre, but it still seems to be in quite poor taste. Also, ironic for a movie containing the new Wonder Woman but the most breath-taking woman in it is actually the comedic one.
Colonel Trautman (Powers Boothe - Agents of SHIELD: S3 ) goes to a Buddist Monastery (in Latin America) and recruits his best man - MacGruber. Once he is back, Mac gets a couple of sidekicks - Ryan Phillipe ( Way Of The Gun ) and Kristen Wiig .
This is a parody not just of the TV show MacGuyver, but of 1980s action movies in general. For example, his signature move is the throat rip from Road House.
Now, three decades later, Thorncroft is a has-been. Luckily for him, a mentally ill murder suspect named Paul Melly (Russell Tovey - Being Human ) believes the show is real. More specifically, the lucky break is that the local police request Thorncroft help them catch the killer.
Thorncroft is teamed up with Detective Constable Baines ( Andrea Riseborough ). However, this is not a parody of Forever and all the other mainstream cop shows these days. Instead we see Thorncroft reluctantly reunite with former co-stars. The result is a slapstick comedy-thriller that might be considered a missed opportunity. There is so much more that could be done with this concept. Hopefully there will be a sequel. Perhaps even a spin-off TV show, like Garth Marenghi's Darkplace .
NYPD Captain Michael Keaton ( Birdman ) appoints a couple of replacements - Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg - The Happening ) and Gamble (Will Ferrell - Land Of The Lost ). They are pretty much the opposite, a mis-matched pair of very flawed characters. Hoitz is a parody of the usual sqaure-jawed cops that Wahlberg often plays, while Ferrell is a desk-jockey with a secret past.
The comedy element is not simply parody of the police genre. There is a lot of more straight-up humour from Farrell. For example, he is irresistable to beautiful women like his wife Sheila ( Eva Mendes )!
Our hero is a US Navy SEAL, leader of a small team sent to rescue a kidnapped scientist.
Months later, when he has recovered from his injuries, he is reassigned to provide security for the scientist's family. He also has to help them out with their personal problems. The eldest boy (Max Theriot - House At The End Of The Street ) is being bullied at school. The eldest girl ( Brittany Snow ) has a boyfriend (Kyle Schmid - Blood Ties ). Our hero even gets himself a love interest - the school Principal ( Lauren Graham ).
In the third act, they must work together to save the scientist's secrets from enemy spies.
Back in the USA, Reese Witherspoon is jealous of her ex-boyfriend (Warren Christie - Alphas ). She has not gotten a new boyfriend yet, so her best friend ( Chelsea Handler ) sets up an online dating profile for her. Hardy's ex-wife ( Abigail Spencer ) has custody of their son, so he starts on-line dating too. Naturally, he and Witherspoon hit it off. Pine also bumps into Witherspoon, and pursues her until she agrees to date him.
The thriller storyline becomes a subplot. Their boss ( Angela Bassett ) pops up briefly to remind them they have a job to do, but they have other things on their minds.
Along with the online dating comes online stalking. The Special Agents take advantage of their Top Secret security clearance and run illicit background checks on her. Hardy actually points out that this is creepy as opposed to romantic, but Pine coins the phrase Cr-omantic as a joke. When they discover they are both dating the same woman, they forget about her feelings and just get incredibly competitive.
The contest is reminiscent of True Lies . Rather than just mis-use expensived government technology, the competitiveness means they actively destroy the tech in order to disadvantage each other. One of the minions points out there may be constitutional issues, but the boss just points out the Patriot Act.
The disregard for safety is blatant. Hardy even goes paintballing without safety goggles.
Finally the terrorists make are-appearance for the climactic car chase. But the real climax of the story is when Witherspoon makes her choice.
Zohan fakes his death, and moves to New York City under a fake identity. His dream is to be a world-class hair stylist. Unfortunately the American stylists do not have much faith in his abilities. Luckily Palestinian barber's shop owner Emanuelle Chiqui does ...
Unfortunately, the Zohan has not escaped his past. Not only is New York the largest Jewish city on Earth, but it also has a large population of Arabs. As the movie points out, there is a tradition for the city to play home to refugees and migrants who want to chase the American Dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. One of them (Rob Schneider - Judge Dredd ) recognises Zohan. Worse, the Phantom himself has also retired to New York - to follow his own dream, cooking in a kebab shop.
This is a parody of action movies, but as a modern-day comedy it needs a happy ending. So the super-powered antagonists discover they have a lot in common, and end up working together against a common foe.
Despite the problematic nature of the subject - the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is central to the storyline - the only real issue the media found controversial was White-washing. Few if any of the actors in this are actually Israeli or Palestinian!
This film was released shortly after the destruction of the World Trade Centre in New York City, 2001. As a result, shots of the NYC skyline had to be digitally altered to remove the WTC.
The girlfriend from hell dies in an accident, and the boyfriend moves on with goth-chick Alexandria Daddario . Unfortunately there is a cursed idol nearby, like in Picture of Dorian Grey . This one raises the girlfriend from the dead, as a zombie.
Directed by Joe Dante , this follows his usual path of combining horror with comedy. While the comedy is funny, the horror aspect is played with seriousness and full-on gore.
The bickering pair head to the boy's family home. His father (Ray Wise - Twin Peaks ) runs the water treatment plant. It turns out that the company's environmentally unsafe procedures have contaminated the water with a brain-eating parasite.
This is an indie movie crowd-funded by kickstarter. The result is a pretty decent rom-zom-com, not the usual SyFy-type garbage.
The movie is a horror-comedy with some camera shots inspired by the works of Sam Raimi . The protagonists are trapped in a confined space, and the tension slowly ramps up as the bathroom gradually fills with more and more zombies.
There is also an after-credits sequence, although it does not really add much to the story.
Later, three sexy tweenage girls go to stay in a Cabin in the Woods . As always, it is right next to a lake. The good news is, it is not Crystal Lake or even Lake Placid . The bad news is, it is the lake that the beavers created with their dam.
This parodies a few different movies in the horror genre. However, it is not just a parody - it is more of a horror-comedy, like Gremlins . Rather than just endlessly mock genre films, it is both scary and funny in alternate turns. Perhaps this could be the Critters for the new century. Unfortunately, those movies had teenage boy protagonists so appealed to a more adventure-loving audience.
This effort clings to horror movie tropes that became cliches long ago. However, it adds a new twist. If you get bitten by a zombie, vampire or werewolf then you turn into the thing that bit you. But if you get bitten by a zombeaver, it turns out that you become a were-beaver.
In 1968, a trio of Minions visit the USA to find a super-villain they can be henchmen for. Due to an incredible series of coincidences they accidentally discover the Supervillains’ TV channel, and then get a lift with a group of amateur villains to the annual Super-villain convention. The best villain of the bunch is Ruby ( Sandra Bullock ), and the guys manage to impress her enough to get hired. But given their slapstick nature, things will not go according to plan.
The film also introduces a very young Groo, who becomes their master in the other films in the series.
Groo adopts the girls, purely as a temporary measure for the duration of the robbery. But the loveable little things eventually get to him. All the usual clichés come into play, and he must eventually choose between success in his career and success as a father.
The newly unemployed Groo gets invited to stay with his twin brother, which is a surprise because he always thought he was an only child. He takes his girlfriend and adopted children along for the trip.
Groo's brother wants to learn the family trade as a super-villain. Groo decides the best way to get him a rep is to steal from the other villain If this sounds familiar, that is because it was the plot of the original film.
The protagonist sets out to undermine his unwanted sibling, who has the brain of a grown man in the body of a tiny infant. The result is an incredible parody of Hollywood car chases, which illustrates (no pun intended) how animated films are far superior to live-action ones in terms of cinematography.
There is an overall plot to the story. Babies are about to be replaced with robot puppies. If this happens, the Boss Baby will be out of business and will be trapped in the family forever. The two unwilling siblings must learn to work together.
The sentient icons live in a dystopian society run by a villainous matriarch, the original smiley face. This makes her more like Ms Pacman than the actual Pacman, but dystopian matriarchies are a trope these days so we should overlook it.
The protagonist flees, and teams up with a couple of other characters - a love interest and a comedy relief. If the plot seems familiar, that is because this film is quite similar to The Lego Movie . The main difference is that Lego will still be used in ten years time while before we know it the smart-phone Emojis will become as extinct as command-line interface. At the end of the day, this is the kind of derivative and unoriginal story that was so expertly mocked in the R-rated comedy Sausage Party .
Hercules (Tate Donovan) is the son of Zeus, but he must prove himself before he inherits his godhood. He is trained by a satyr (Danny DeVito - Batman Returns ) and assisted by his animal sidekick, Pegasus the flying horse.
Hades (James Woods - Videodrome ) is plotting a takeover of Olympus.
It is a family-friendly film that works on a number of levels:
The story starts in Polynesian legend. A demi-god named Maui (Dwayne Johnson - GI Joe: Retaliation ) stole a magic mcguffin from the mother-goddess. Now Moana, the Polynesian Disney princess, must return it to its rightful place.
Moana is raised in a matriarchal society. She learns the ancient wisdom from her grandmother (Rachel House), the mentor she is due to replace as the tribe's next great leader. Moana's father (Temuera Morrison - Barb Wire ) brings home the bacon (or fish, in this case), but this is scut-work and he is afraid to go beyond the island's protective reef. The other men include a weakling who can barely endure the pain of getting a tribal tattoo, and for some reason it is positioned in the small of his back (like a ho-tag).
The island is best with ill luck, and the tribe's food supply begins to die off. The cowardly men of the tribe refuse to do antything, so Moana follows the call to adventure. Unlike most female protagonists these days she does not manage to figure it all out by herself, and she needs to train with a Yoda figure.
Moana teams up with Maui, a hilarous ego-maniac who steals the show and becomes a reluctant hero. They set off on a musical comedy adventure together, fighting piratical coconut people, a giant crab-monster and an enormous demon-king.
Rango is an anthropomorphosised lizard who gets lost in the Nevada desert. He ends up as sheriff in a town peopled by other talking animals. There is a big dispute over water access (like in Chinatown). The town Mayor (Ned Beatty - Deliverance) and a thieving gopher (Harry Dean Stanton - Alien ) are involved.
The happy foodstuffs go on a trek across the supermarket. All the usual cliches are parodied ceaselessly.
A young woman in New York City buys two mis-matched dogs as pets. They bicker and fight, and end up getting lost on the streets of New York. The dog catcher is after them, and they do not have their collars on. Eventually they end up in a sausage factory, which may have inspired the parody film Sausage Party .
Moon (Matthew McConaghey - Kubo and the Two Strings ) is a koala bear who runs a failing theatre. His scripted shows have failed, so his next business venture is a singing contest.
The story is quite predictable, with a believe in yourself moral in the end. What really sets it apart is the fact that animated films are far superior to live-action ones in terms of cinematography.
A young boy in suburban USA is lonely because he does not get enough of his parents' attention. The parents (including Jennifer Aniston ) are self-employed and work from home, unlike the vast majority of parents in the world, so he really does not have much to complain about. However, he writes a letter to the Storks and requests to have a baby brother delivered.
The protagonist (Andy Samberg - Brooklyn 99) must deliver the baby to its parents before the boss (Kelsey Grammer - Transformers 4 ) finds out and fires him.
The Storks have a token human, Tulip. She is portrayed as a heroine who can do no wrong, even though she is incompetent and everything she does ends in disaster. Disaster for everyone except her, that is. She never has to take responsibility for her failures. Tulip's policy is Diversity for the sake of diversity. The business already employs Pigeons as office drones and Penguins as nannies. However, she wants to take the flightless birds and put them on delivery duties (for which they are fundamentally unsuitable). That said, with the enormous back-log created at the end it might be necessary to lower standards and hire a few new staff outside of traditional recruiting zones.
A rabbit named Judy Hopper ( Ginnifer Goodwin ) wants to be a police officer. She is accepted into the Police Force, but ends up as a meter maid. After all, she is the first bunny on the force so they are reluctant to throw her in the deep end.
Judy manages to get a case. Citizens have been disappearing. The only thing they have in common is that they are predators.
Judy teams up with the only one she can find to help her. He is a fox with a knowledge of the city's underworld. It turns out that there is a lot of prejudice against predators, and that they form something of an underclass.