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.
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.
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.
The hero (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.
The Headmaster (Michael Sheen - Good Omens (2019) ) is set up to be a bad guy, when he gives a Trump-style Make Slaughterhouse Great Again quote. His plan is to allow fracking in the forest, which will destroy the water table and polute the atmosphere. Luckily all it actually does is unleash a horde of carniverous beasties that start to devour the cast.
There are a couple of familiar faces. A school-teacher (Simon Pegg - Mission Impossible: Fallout ) is obsessed with getting back with his estranged girlfriend ( Margot Robbie ). Meanwhile, a hippy (Nick Frost - ) is camping out in the woods to protest the fracking. Since the movie was not written and directed by their co-conspirator Edgar Wright , Pegg and Frost are just supporting characters.
The protagonist and his room-mate (Asa Butterfield - The space Between us ) have to save the day. Yes, this boils down to a teenagers-versus-monsters story.
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.
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.
As in that other great British zombie comedy, Shaun of the Dead , it turns out that a zombie apocalypse has started when nobody was paying attention.
The musical numbers are quite impressive, but the fight scenes are rather less so. The zombies are of the Romero kind, slow-moving brain-eaters
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.
Luckily, this movie has something to set it apart from the others. The children are taken on a day-trip to the petting zoo, where they can meet childrens' entertainer Teddy (Josh Gadd - Pixels (2015) ). Unfortunately the zoo is right next to a US military test-site. Yes, the US military is testing a zombie formula … although for safety's sake they are not doing it on American soil. Lucky Australia gets to play host to the test site.
The zombies escape and overrun the petting zoo. Caroline and Jeff must save the kids, without actually letting on how dire the situation really is. And hilarity ensues.
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 protagonists in the story are a trio of boy scouts who live in small-town USA. They look old enough to be venture scouts, but they are in High School so this is just another example of twenty-somethings cast as teenagers.
The scouts' main concern is to get in with the cool kids at school, like Halston Sage . Their typical teenage boy problems continue through the zom-pocalypse.
The main thing that stands out about this film is the zombies themselves. Most of the time they are slow-moving Romero zombies, so the good guys can run away from them with minimum hassle. However, whenever the plot demands it the infected are Fast Zombies. The virus can also jump species, since a deer and a house-cat both get infected. In other words, it would be practically impossible to control the epidemic.
In the climax, the scouts use the skills that earned them their merit badges to macguyver up some home-made weapons. Will they be able to save their town?
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.
A gang of villainous henchmen steal the main plot device, a magical mcguffin called the Transmooker. The OSS traces the villains to a bermuda triangle type area near Madagascar. They send in the Giggles siblings, so Carmen and Juni go along uninvited.
The island has the topography of southern California, and is filled with all sorts of CGI monsters. What sets this apart from the SyFy channel's tongue-in-cheek efforts is the visual flair of the director ( Robert Rodriguez ). Also, the budget allows for an amazing all-star cast. For example, Doctor Romero the Mad Scientist is played by Steve Buscemi ( Armageddon ).
The kids parents come to the rescue. Father (Antonio Banderas - Mark of Zorro ) has to put up with his in-laws when Mother ( Carla Gugino ) brings her father (Ricardo Montalban - Star Trek 2: Wrath Of Khan ) along on the mission.
The OSS has changed. Its staff of Spy Kids all grew up and are now Spy Adults. Junie went solo, Carmen is still around but Danger D'Amo (Jeremy Piven - Grosse Point Blank ) is now running things.
The storyline is basically The Neverending Story . A young boy, bullied at school, retreats into a fantastical story. This story features the title characters, Shark Boy (Taylor Lautner - Twilight ) and Lava Girl ( ). The protagonist joins them on a quest across a CGI 3-D landscape.
The main story takes place seven years later, when the toys are now property of a little girl named Bonnie. She is a very shy child, and is very lonely on her first day at kindergarten. Until she makes a new toy named Forkie, made from a plastic spork someone threw in the trash. Forkie is her favourite toy, while the rest of the toys are neglected.
Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen - Santa Clause ) stands quietly in the background a lot, and even gets a couple of lines in one or two brief scenes. It stands to reason that a spaceman would not necessarily be a little girl's favourite toy, although it is unfortunate to see him relegated so far behind a talking spork. When Woody finally goes off and leaves Buzz in charge, for some strange reason Buzz is weak and indecisive. While relying on the advice of his inbuilt sound recordings, Buzz abandons the other toys and goes off in search of Woody. All completely out of chraacter.
The story is really about Woody. He goes off to save Forkie, then goes in search of his lost love Bo Peep. This leads him to encounter the story's antagonist, Gabby ( Christina Hendricks ), who is actually more well-rounded than the usual forthing-at-the-mouth bad guys. Anyway, Bo Peep and her allies like Duke Crashem (Keanu Reeves - John Wick ) help save the day.
This movie series is not exactly solid on its portrayal of the toys and their relationship with their human owners. Forkie starts as an inanimate object, but comes alive when Bonnie turns him into a toy. Every toy we have see so far desires to be played with by a human owner, although Bo Peep's time without an owner has convinced her that she should go out and explore the world for herself. Basically, their very existence is generally defined by their relationship with the humans who play with them - a bit like the robot hosts in Westworld (2016) .
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:
A human astronaut named Gribble (Dan Fogler - Walking Dead ) provides the necessary exposition. The Martian females have created a matriarchy, and expelled the males from the city to live in the trash heap. Unfortunately since the females are focused on their pointless careers they have lost their maternal instincts, and thus abduct human mothers from Earth to provide it.
The two humans find another ally, a renegade Martian ( Elizabeth Harnois ) who has become obsessed with Earth culture. They must find a way to save the boy's mother before she is killed by the Martian scientists.
The end credits sequence reveal that this was all shot as a motion capture movie, and the animation was added in post-production. This process resulted in some amazing visuals, and the budget must have been incredible.
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.