I have been terribly remiss in keeping up. Life sometimes gets the better of all of us. Several reviews have gone up on buzzymag.com and I haven’t shared! Here are links for your edification: X-Men: Day of Future Past, Maleficent, and How to Train Your Dragon 2.
Some tidbits–here’s what I had to say about Peter Dinklage playing the villain in X-Men: Days of Future Past:
A man who truly believes that mutants are a threat to homo sapiens. They will lead nations out of war with each other to unite in a common cause to destroy all mutants. He absolutely sells it. Trask Industries is a very real threat to mutants everywhere.
What I had to say about the acting in Maleficent:
Angelina Jolie is definitely the star of the show. She does a magnificent job with what she has to work with. This movie sinks or swims on her ability, and much of its success should be laid at her feet. She is by turns vulnerable, furious, vindictive, tender, naive, protective, and aggressive–the list goes on.
And a nibble about How to Train Your Dragon 2:
A great job showing what being able to travel dragon-back has done for the Vikings of Berk. The world is now a bigger place, growing the focus of the film to more than just Berk, and adding a bunch of characters. And a bunch of dragons. Lots of dragons. Tons of dragons.
Full reviews, as always, available at buzzymag.
Monsters University, Pixar’s anticipated follow-up to Monsters Inc. takes a step back from the Scarers at the Scream Factory of Monsters, Inc. and shows us a happier time, when things were slower and less competitive–college! See my full review at buzzymag.
The movie begins with Mike, as he and his class at Frighton Elementary tour the Scare Floor at Monsters, Inc. and he is inspired to become a Scarer himself. He works hard and gets good grades.
And he goes to Monsters University to follow his dream. Early shots of MU are great.
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Writers: Peter Baynham (screenplay), Robert Smigel (screenplay), Todd Durham (story), Dan Hageman (story), Kevin Hageman (story)
Stars: Adam Sandler (voice), Andy Samberg (voice), Selena Gomez (voice), Kevin James (voice), Fran Drescher (voice)
In 1895, the birth of his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) makes it clear to Dracula (Adam Sandler) that he must do something about the horrible danger that humans pose to the monster community. So he builds a haven, a safe place . . . Hotel Transylvania.
Surrounded by four hundred acres of haunted forest, it has become the vacation destination of choice for non-humans. Dracula has become a surprisingly good hotelier, handling the day-to-day crises that having such interesting guests would inevitably result in.
As the hotel goes up, we see Mavis growing up. She learns to turn into a bat and fly (with a helmet!–too cute). Dracula is a delightfully overprotective father, keeping her safe from all the usual things that fathers worry about (boys!) as well as those frightful humans.
This is a wonderfully funny take on all of the classic monsters–not just Dracula and Frankenstein, werewolves and zombies–everyone is in this one. From giant spiders to yetis, from a whirling dervish to Quasimodo, even the invisible man puts in an appearance (or seems to) in this family-friendly homage to everything we love about monster movies. There’s a zombie mariachi band playing for the guests on their arrival to the hotel, and even the “Do Not Disturb” signs are inventive–individual shrunken heads. With attitude.
The joy of showing what someone would do if they had magic in their everyday life is priceless: Dracula does things effortlessly (he’s been at it for centuries) and inventively. But it’s not fun anymore. Enter Jonny (Andy Samberg), a human hiker who inadvertently finds his way to the hotel. He not only shows Dracula and all the old monsters how to find joy again, he introduces Mavis to a whole new raft of possibilities, and someone that she could see the world with.
This is far and away the most fun I’ve ever had at an Adam Sandler film–he make a terrific Dracula. Selena Gomez is just petulant enough as Mavis to be tremendous fun, and Andy Samberg is wonderfully clueless as Jonny, the hapless human who wanders in.
Hotel Transylvania ends with a group partying and rapping–it reminded me of a live FuMP show.
Certainly a fun afternoon’s entertainment. With monsters, even.
I went to see Pixar’s latest offering, Brave. It had its high points and low points–bring your kids, they’ll love it. My full review is at buzzymag.
The overall themes running through the movie are good . . . did someone at PIXAR see The Hunger Games coming and just know that archery would be the Next. Big. Thing?