ORBzine - Comedy 2017 Movie Reviews

TITLE & REVIEW

17 Again

17 Again Chandler from Friends is middle-aged, getting divorced by his still-hot wife. He is magically transformed into teen heart-throb Zac Efron, who looks like a young Ian Somerhalder ( Smallville, Lost, Vampire Diaries ). He uses this as an opportunity to interfere in the love life of his hot teen daughter ( Michelle Trachtenberg ).

The hero's nerdy sidekick prevents genre blindness by identifying the hero's journey as a magical spirit quest.

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    101 Dalmations (1996)

    101 Dalmations (1996) This was written (but not directed) by John Hughes , based on the novel by Dodie Smith . Despite the American influence and stars, it is sent in London and features English locations and supporting cast.

    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.

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    102 Dalmations (2000)

    102 Dalmations (2000) Cruella deVill ( Glenn Close ) is released from prison. She has apparently been cured.

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    Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

    Ghosts of Girlfriends Past This is a Feminazi rom-com version of A Christmas Carol . Matthew McConaghey wants to avoid being trapped in a bad relationship, so he is painted as a villain. Jennifer Garner and her friends (a gang of smutty bridesmaids) sleep around, and are therefore role-models of female empowerment. Hypocritical crap!

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    Knights of Badassdom

    Knights of Badassdom The prologue explains the backstory, which is predictable enough. There is a magic book, and when the contents are read aloud it summons demons into the world. The only original aspects are that this time the book was created by Dr John Dee, the Elizabethan wizard, and that some LARPers ended up buying it on E-Bay.

    (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.

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    Lesbian Vampire killers

    Lesbian Vampire killers Cordon ( Three Musketeers ) and Horne, a pair of UK comedians who recently got their own TV show, now have their big-screen debut. The lads go on holiday, and hike into a parody of a 1960s Hammer Horror lesbo vamp movie. Myanna Burring is a not just a damsel in distress - she is a foreign exchange student who is an expert in folklore, and can more than look after herself. Paul McGann is a vampire-fighting preacher.

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    The Nutty Professor (1996)

    Nutty Professor (1996) This is a remake of a 1960s Jerry Lewis comedy. Basically it is an excuse for Eddie Murphy to wear a selection of fat-suits.

    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.

  • Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps
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    Space Station 76

    Space Station 76 As the title suggests, this is set on a Space Station where everyone dresses as if they were in 1976. It is a soap opera with a light-hearted approach.

    Captain Patrick Wilson ( Watchmen ) is estranged from his boyfriend Matthew Morrison (Glee).

    The other crew members include:

  • Liv Tyler
  • Kali Rocha
  • Jerry O'Connell ( Piranha 3-D )
  • Keir Dullea ( 2001: A Space Odyssey )

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    U.F.O.

    U.F.O. This was made in 1993, starring Roy "Chubby" Brown. He is abducted by Captain Sarah Stockbridge and her Feminazis from the future. Kenny Baker ( Time Bandits ) has a cameo as Casanova!

    The result is a poor story, but it gives excuse to some shockingly funny (or just shocking) jokes.

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    The Voices

    The Voices Ryan Reynolds ( Green Lantern ) steps away from his usual Van Wilder persona. He plays a likeable loser who has mental issues. His pets (voiced by Reynolds himself) give him advice - the evil Scottish cat gives devilish tips, while the big dopey dog tells him to Beee Good like E.T. .

    Our protagonist works with a handful of young women. Anna Kendrick takes a liking to him, but Gemma Arterton is the one he wants to be with. However, she does not reciprocate.

    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.

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    Walter Mitty

    Walter Mitty This is a remake of a classic American film from the 1940s. The visuals are well-directed by Stiller, but the script is a bit predictable.

    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.

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    Young Frankenstein

    Young Frankenstein This is a parody of the classic Universal horror movie Frankenstein (1932) .

    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.

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    Action Movie Parodies

    Grimsby

    Grimsby MI6 Secret Agent Mark Strong ( Stardust ) is a one-man Special Forces unit, singlehandedly fighting a terrorist conspiracy. Unfortunately he ends up disavowed - like in all the Mission Impossible films. The MI6 boss (Ian McShane - Hercules (2015) ) sends Strong's predecessor after him. This hit-man does not do it single-handed, and has a whole SWAT team of heavily-armed goons to help. Luckily, the office Moneypenny type ( Isla Fisher ) is willing to send Strong a few updates.

    The Secret Agent has to team up with his long-lost brother Nobby (Sasha Baron Cohen - Sweeney Todd ), a chav who is shacked up with Rebel Wilson in the post-Industrial town of Grimsby.

    Nobby must become a secret agent himself, but predictably makes a mess of things and accidentally seduces Precious from American Horror Story: Coven .

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    Grosse Point Blank (1997)

    Grosse Point Blank (1997) Martin Blank (John Cusack - Hot Tub Time Machine ) lives a happy middle-class life as a small businessman. He has a secretary ( Joan Cusack ), sees a psychiatrist (Alan Arkin - ) and his only worry is a business rivalry with Mr Grocer (Dan Ackroyd - Ghostbusters (1984) ). The key fact is that Martin is an ex-CIA assassin who now works as a freelance hit-man for the highest bidder.

    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.

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    Johnny English

    Johnny English Someone steals the British Crown Jewels. The British Secret Service calls in their best man, Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson - Never Say Never Again ).

    Our hero's investigation is dogged by a mysterious femme fatale ( Natalie Imbruglia ). The clues lead him to a creepy billionaire (John Malkovich - ).

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    Johnny English Reborn

    Johnny English Reborn Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson - Never Say Never Again ) is surprisingly competent, just very unlucky. He investigates an evil conspiracy of assassins, who use a Chinese cleaning lady to bump off witnesses. His Boss ( Gillian Anderson ) and co-worker (Dominic West - The Awakening ) do not have much faith in his abilities. Luckily Bond girl Rosamund Pike does ...

    The movie plays more like a UK version of Steve Carrell’s Get Smart than the previous film. Pity there is no Anne Hathaway in this one, though.

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    Keeping Up With The Joneses

    Keeping Up With The Joneses Zach Galifrianis ( Tru Calling ) and Isla Fisher are a married-with-kids couple living in suburbia. No sooner have the kids gone away for summer camp than new neighbours move in next door. They are the Joneses - Gal Godot and John Hamm ( Baby Driver ).

    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.

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    MacGruber

    MacGruber A Supervillain (Val Kilmer - Willow ) steals a Russian rocket equipped with a nuclear warhead - a more compact version of the Scud featured in Spies Like Us .

    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.

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    Mindhorn

    Mindhorn Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt - A Field In England ) is an actor who was famous for starring in a UK TV show in 1989. He played the title character in a show named Mindhorn, which is a mish-mash of 1970s/80s series. A Secret Agent was in a plane crash (like in The Champions ), got a bionic eye (a la Six Million Dollar Man ) and became a detective in a small British island's police department (Bergerac).

    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 .

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    The Other Guys (2010)

    The Other Guys (2010) Highsmith (Samuel L Jackson - Snakes On A Plane ) and Danson (Dwayne Johnson - Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle ) are a pair of NYPD detectives who take out a gang of gun-toting Rastas in a chase scene that parodies straight-up action movies like Bad Boys , at least before that franchise parodied itself with Bad Boys 2 . unfortunately, they end up getting taken in by their own sense of invulnerability.

    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 case leads back to a corrupt financier, David Ershon (Steve Coogan - Mindhorn ). Our heroes must get him out of the grasp of security man Roger Westerly (Ray Stevenson - Punisher: War Zone ).

    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 )!

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    The Pacifier

    The Pacifier This is a star vehicle for Vin Diesel ( Pitch Black ), back in the days when he liked to think he had artistic integrity. You know, when he refused to do sequels and instead spent his time on projects that stretched his talent. This is his first and only comedy project to date.

    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.

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    You Don't Mess With The Zohan

    You Don't Mess With The Zohan Zohan Dvir (Adam Sandler - ) is the best soldier in the Israeli Special Forces. His ability to do wire-fu stunts is clearly a superhuman ability. The only one who can match him is his arch-enemy, the Phantom (John Turturo - Transformers ). And as a result, Zohan is sent off on a mission to hunt down the Phantom.

    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!

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    Zoolander

    Zoolander Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller - Tropic Thunder ) is the world's top male model. All he has to worry about is his rival, Hansel (Owen Wilson - ).

    Zoolander stumbles into a plot by top fashion designer Mugatu (Will Ferrell - Land of the Lost ). Mugatu orders his henchwoman ( Mila Jovovich ) to take care of the problem.

    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.

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    Zoolander 2

    Zoolander 2 Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller - Tropic Thunder ) and his former rival, Hansel (Owen Wilson - ), are brought out of retirement by Billy Zane ( Titanic ).

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    Zom-Com (Zombie Comedy) Movies

    Night of the Living Deb

    Night of the Living Deb The story starts in Portland, Maine, on the night before the Fourth of July. Debbie (who looks like a shorter, perkier version of ) has a one-night stand with a generic pretty-boy (Michael Cassidy - ). Next morning, after an embarrassing walk of shame, she discovers the town has been hit by a zombie apocalypse.

    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.

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    Stalled

    Stalled It is the Xmas party in a British office building. The janitor is hard at work, fixing the womens toilets. The good news is, he gets to spy on girls in skimpy outfits making out. The bad news is, there is an outbreak of zombie-itis and people start to eat each other.

    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.

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    Zombeavers

    Zombeavers A couple of truckers drive some barrels of toxic waste along the backroads of rural USA. Unfortunately the driver is one of the title characters from Clerks , so they end up losing a barrel. It drifts downstream, until it gets stopped by a beaver dam.

    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.

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    Despicable Me Franchise

    Minions

    Minions This is a prequel to the Despicable Me Films, featuring the tribe of Minions. They are a prehistoric tribe of creatures that live as henchmen to super-villains. The creatures are all male (they are too stupid to be female) and they are apparently immortal, which explains their inability to breed.

    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.

  • Despicable Me
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Despicable Me 3
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    Despicable Me

    Despicable Me Groo is a super-villain whose MO is to steal something impressive and then ransom it to the original owners. Unfortunately his most recent robbery, that of a Pyramid, was pre-empted by a nerdy rival named Vector. In order to pull off his latest robbery, Groo needs to steal a gadget from Vector. And the only ones who can get into Vector’s fortified home are three little orphan girls ...

    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.

  • Minions
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Despicable Me 3
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    Despicable Me 2

    Despicable Me 2

  • Minions
  • Despicable Me
  • Despicable Me 3
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    Despicable Me 3

    Despicable Me 3 The story starts with the events shown in the trailer. Groo, once the world's greatest super-villain, now helps the forces of law and order take on a rival villain. Our hero does his best. However, the new boss is a nasty woman who needs a scapegoat for her failures.

    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.

  • Minions
  • Despicable Me
  • Despicable Me 2
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    Animated films

    Ballerina

    Ballerina This is an animation set in France, circa 1876. An orphaned girl wants to follow her dreams. She runs away from the orphanage, and seeks her fortune in Paris. The good news is, she gets a chance to join a prestigious ballet school. Unfortunately there is a Mean Girl who becomes her rival.

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    Boss Baby

    Boss Baby The pre-teen protagonist discovers he suddenly has a younger brother. What his parents are oblivious to is the fact that the baby can talk. It is voiced by Alec Baldwin, and is basically an extension of his well-known parody of Donald Trump.

    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.

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    Emoji Movie, The

    Emoji Movie, The The protagonist is a smiley face icon who lives in a utopian town of Emoji people inside a teenage American boy's smartphone. Ironically, his particular expression is Meh, which sums up the entire film quite well.

    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 .

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    Hercules (1997)

    Hercules (1997) This is a cartoon with musical interludes. It came out around the same time as the live-action TV show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys , but beyond using the same ancient Greek legend they are not connected.

    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.

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    Lego Movie

    Lego Movie The story itself is not original - it is basically the plot from The Matrix , which itself is straight out of Hero of a Thousand Faces. The cameos are too many to list.

    It is a family-friendly film that works on a number of levels:

  • It is child-friendly
  • it has a lot of parody
  • it takes a step sideways into meta

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    Moana

    Moana This is the introduction of one of the first Disney Princesses of Colour, and she is presented in the context of her own heritage and culture. Somehow Disney managed to avoid accusations of cultural appropriation, possibly because many of the cast are of polynesian descent.

    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.

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    Planet 51

    Planet 51 This is an animated feature, aimed at a young audience. The plot is not terribly original - it is basically a reverse of E.T. . However, it is the style rather than the substance that is particularly noteworthy. There are enough jokes and homages to keep a more mature audience interested,

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    Rango

    Rango This is a great piece of CGI animation. It has the best cinematography in animation since Happy Feet . Gore Verbinski directs, with his Pirates of the Caribbean cohorts Johnny Depp and Hans Zimmer in the roles of lead actor and music composer. The storyline is a basic western plot - there are lots of references, so it works for adult viewers as well as for kids.

    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.

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    Robots

    Robots This is set in a world peopled by Robots, but which mirrors contemporary America. Just like Monsters Inc , really, but without the originality. Robin Williams ( Disney's Aladdin ) provides a voiceover as a zany comic relief character. He keeps the entire film going, but this is not exactly the first animation he stole the show in either!

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    Sausage Party

    Sausage Party This is an animated film about inanimate objects, but it is certainly NOT for children! These objects are foodstuffs that include sausages and buns, so the constant sexual references should not be a surprise.

    The happy foodstuffs go on a trek across the supermarket. All the usual cliches are parodied ceaselessly.

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    Secret Life Of Pets

    Secret Life Of Pets The pre-teen protagonist discovers he suddenly has a brother. Pre-teen? Sorry, the setup is the same as for Boss Baby - but instead of babies talking when the adult humans are not around, it is pet dogs and cats.

    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 .

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    Sing

    Sing This is an animated story about anthropomorphicised animals, voiced by a number of big-name celebrities.

    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 contenders include a teenage hedge-hog girl ( Scarlett Johansson ) and a teenage gorilla boy (Taron Egerton - Kingsman ).

    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.

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    Storks

    Storks This is an enjoyable, groundbreaking wildlife documentary about talking wildfowl that create human babies by means of a machine that clones them from letters. Well, it is actually the kind of film that Sausage Party parodied so well.

    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.

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    Zootopia

    Zootopia This is an animation set in a world where animals have evolved into humanoid creatures. The predators have set aside their natural instincts, and become vegetarian so they can live in peace with the herbivores.

    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.

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    Soon

    Soon

  • 2000
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