Ralph Breaks The Internet, The Nutcracker And The Four Realms & The Grinch Movie Reviews

Three more quickies today as I try to catch up on reviewing the 2018 films I’ve seen. Two of these were okay (just okay) and one was pretty dreadful…

Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018)

Directed by Rich Moore & Phil Johnston

Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Six years after the events of “Wreck-It Ralph,” Ralph and Vanellope, now friends, discover a wi-fi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure.

My Opinion:

I love the first Wreck-It Ralph. I think it’s easily one of the better Disney films of recent years and I appreciated that it felt like such an original idea. Hell, it’s almost as good as Pixar’s films! (Almost). And being a lover of the Eighties, I of course loved the classic video game element. Therefore, it was likely that I wouldn’t enjoy this sequel as much. It doesn’t have the magic of the first film (as is often the case with sequels). And it also loses the simple video game innocence of the first film by making the Internet the focus of this one (and having all the brand names in your face constantly). I hate the Internet. Okay… I’m on it all the damn time… (like now). But I’d still rather be living in the pre-Internet Eighties again.

I’ll start with the best thing about this sequel: Ralph & Vanellope. I love these characters and they’re just as loveable in the sequel as in the first film. Actually, Vanellope is even better in this one – she’s much sweeter since becoming friends with Ralph. They make this movie worth watching and I did really enjoy seeing them again even though I didn’t like the story itself all that much. I also enjoyed the “Oh My Disney” bit. It kind of goes against saying I wasn’t crazy about all the commercialism but I admit that I love Disney. I’m a Disney whore! I love going into the damn Disney Store. I’m such a child. So, I did really like seeing Vanellope with all the Disney princesses. Those bits were a lot of fun and I liked spotting so many other Disney characters & references. Oh and I loved that one cameo (don’t want to spoil it)! Screw it – This is a Disney film. They’re allowed to Disney-fy the crap out of it! I liked those bits just fine.

Where it fails is when it talks about eBay & memes & viral videos & etc etc etc. And the end gets a bit bizarre and didn’t really work for me at all. I really missed the innocence of the first film. This was okay but where can they go from here? It was just a little disappointing but my expectations weren’t too high anyway since Disney sequels are rarely all that great. Oh, but the end credits scenes were brilliant! There are two: one partway through the credits and one at the very end. I highly recommend staying for them as they’re pretty much better than the entire movie itself.

My Rating: 7/10

The Nutcracker And The Four Realms (2018)

Directed by Lasse Hallström & Joe Johnston

Based on The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffmann & The Nutcracker by Marius Petipa

Starring: Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Eugenio Derbez, Matthew Macfadyen, Richard E. Grant, Misty Copeland, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
This is a retelling of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s short story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and Marius Petipa’s The Nutcracker, about a young girl who is gifted a locked egg from her deceased mother and sets out in a magical land to retrieve the key.

My Opinion:

Wow – this has very negative reviews & ratings on IMDb. I don’t fully understand why. I think people were definitely too harsh on this one. No, it’s certainly not great and is quite weak for a Disney film but it was lovely to look at and had a fun story. Hell, I enjoyed it more than that live-action and completely pointless Beauty And The Beast. At least this is a story I didn’t already know and isn’t a re-hash of a far superior film.

Maybe the story was a little too weird for audiences these days? People don’t really go for anything slightly bizarre anymore. As I said, it’s quite a lovely looking film and I liked that it felt a bit like Narnia at first. It makes for a good winter movie in the lead up to Christmas. I also thought the main girl was very good, just as she was in Interstellar (she was the only good thing about that overblown Nolan film).

And Morgan Freeman is in this. Yay! (Am I allowed to admit to loving him again yet? Are people over the “oh my god, he said flirty things to women!” bullshit?). And Helen Mirren – I like that saucy minx too. Unfortunately, Keira Knightley is in this as well. Have I mentioned that she annoys me? (Yes, I have. Many times). Speaking of her and how I said in my previous review that I’m a Disney whore: Knightley recently got on her high horse again and said she doesn’t let her kid(s?) watch Disney movies because they’re a bad influence and blah blah blah. Screw that. How about you talk to them & teach them the difference between reality & fantasy and then let them watch what every other kid watches and enjoys? Are they not allowed to watch this movie, then???

Anyway. This movie was okay but it was also missing something. I can’t quite figure out what it was missing, though. It has the right elements to make it a family classic but it’s already fading from my mind only a few weeks after seeing it. Maybe it’s Knightley’s fault! Her role is too big. She got on my nerves, especially with that stupid voice she put on. Yeah, let’s blame her. Otherwise, this is a decent enough family Disney movie that doesn’t quite deserve the horrible reviews it has had.

My Rating: 6.5/10

The Grinch (2018)

Directed by Scott Mosier & Yarrow Cheney

Based on How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cameron Seely, Angela Lansbury

Narrated by Pharrell Williams

Music by Danny Elfman

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows the Grinch as he plans to ruin Whoville’s Christmas celebration by stealing all the town’s decorations and gifts.

My Opinion:

Ugh. No. Okay – I’m a big fan of the 1966 American TV classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Who isn’t?! That show has been a yearly American tradition for ages now. It’s one of the most beloved holiday TV specials. That’s why they shouldn’t have done this film. They were never going to live up to something that is, quite frankly, almost complete perfection.

Speaking of movies fading from my mind only a few weeks after seeing them, I can barely remember a thing about The Grinch now. I remember liking his adorable and long-suffering dog Max, but the same goes for the 1966 version anyway. I think the biggest problem with this version is this: The Grinch isn’t enough of an asshole. TV Grinch was gloriously mean. Then, to make it even worse, this movie added a bullshit backstory to help explain why The Grinch is a bit of an asshole. We don’t need a stupid backstory! Can’t someone just be an asshole for the hell of it? I mean, I’m a bit of an asshole for no good reason. This is probably why I’ve always slightly preferred The Grinch before his heart grows. He’s damn funny at the beginning of the 1966 version. He’s boring as shit in this lifeless adaptation.

Oh well – I guess it’s still not as bad as that Jim Carrey monstrosity, which is one of my most-hated movies of all time. Just leave The Grinch the fuck alone, Hollywood. That’s what he wants anyway! Oh, and why the hell did they have Pharrell Williams only narrate this movie and not do the music as well? His music is one of the things that makes Despicable Me so great. Illumination is clearly never going to live up to that film ever again.

My Rating: 4.5/10

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Cooties (2014) Review

Cooties (2014)

Directed by Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion

Starring: Elijah Wood, Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer, Jorge Garcia

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A mysterious virus hits an isolated elementary school, transforming the kids into a feral swarm of mass savages. An unlikely hero must lead a motley band of teachers in the fight of their lives.

My Opinion:

I know I’ve been reviewing horror movies for all of October but I didn’t actually watch any of them in October. I’ve finally watched my first horror movie this month! I watched Cooties on Thursday night. I have to say it was one hell of a disappointment, especially as it’s the only damn horror I’ve watched in quite a while.

I’ll keep this review short. I love a good horror comedy (Yes, I did a Top Ten HERE). I especially love a good zombie comedy (as you’ll see on that list, I chose several ZomComs). ZomCom! I love that term. And I love that there’s actually a ZomRomCom with Warm Bodies… By the way – I know this is “virus” movie and not strictly a “zombie” movie. Whatever. It’s still a zombie movie. And possibly the weakest of all the ZomComs that I’ve seen.

What can I say? Mainly that Cooties wasn’t very funny. I had a couple of very small giggles & that was it. For me, the comedy part of a horror comedy is far more important than the horror part, so… I expect more than a couple small giggles. This is no Shaun Of The Dead! As for the horror part, I wouldn’t say Cooties managed to get this right either. It’s mainly some “gross-out” low budget effects & there’s no real sense of fear for these teachers trapped in a school while the children go berserk. I’ll say that I hadn’t watched this sooner as, even though it’s a comedy, I still didn’t like the thought of them having to kill a bunch of kids. They did what I expected: They made the kids complete & utter assholes so you wouldn’t feel so bad! They did at least make two kids likable, who aren’t infected & end up with the teachers. I was glad about that. Just FYI for the childless or the child-haters watching this: Kids aren’t usually evil, people! If they’re bratty, it’s probably because their parents are c*^ts. Yeah, I used that word since it was used in this movie. 😉

Meh. Sorry. I know I don’t have a lot to say about this one. I was just kind of bored. Elijah Wood, Alison Pill & Rainn Wilson did a decent enough job with a weak script but I didn’t care about the rest of the characters. Oh, wait – I also kind of liked Jorge Garcia’s stoner character. I kept going “Hurley!” because I loved him in Lost. Remember those first couple of seasons when Lost was good?! The ZomCom I’d say this is most similar to is Life After Beth. That was also meh. But I think I ever so slightly preferred that one…

My Rating: 5.5/10

By the way, I thought of a positive comment to add so I don’t sound so negative. I do think this Cooties poster is pretty great and I liked how it appeared outside a cinema in the film, next to a poster of A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night:

**Edit to say that I watched another horror movie after writing this review. I watched the Netflix adaptation of Stephen King’s 1922. I’ll be reviewing that on Monday followed by a review on Tuesday of Gerald’s Game.

I’ll then do a few days of Mike Flanagan movie reviews before ending on the 30th & 31st with reviews of my two favorite horrors that I watched at home this year. Neither of those films are in English. You need to start making better horror movies, Hollywood!

Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017) Review

Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017)

Directed by Kelly Asbury

Based on The Smurfs by Peyo

Starring: Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pudi, Michelle Rodriguez, Ellie Kemper, Ariel Winter, Meghan Trainor, Jake Johnson, Mandy Patinkin, Julia Roberts

Production company: Sony Pictures Animation

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting race through the Forbidden Forest leading to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history.

My Opinion:

I don’t have the energy to “review” this. I suppose Smurfs: The Lost Village isn’t as bad as those godawful live action movies they did with Doogie Howser but that’s not saying much. I know I’m probably too picky on kids’ movies but it’s hard not to be when Pixar & Disney have proven that it is actually possible to make really good movies that people of all ages enjoy. This movie has that “straight to video” feel and it’s one that parents will stick on for their kids to watch while they go & do housework or something. So I suppose that’s one positive thing about it? They should stick that on the cover when it comes out on DVD! “Smurfs: The Lost Village is a good ‘keep the kids entertained while you do housework’ movie.” – Cinema Parrot Disco.

I suppose I’m also a little extra picky since I adored the Smurfs cartoon as a kid in the Eighties so can’t help but compare. At least they didn’t mess with the look of the Smurfs too much but it unfortunately didn’t work as well as The Peanuts Movie, which I really enjoyed. To be fair, this movie is at least a step in the right direction and I don’t think it does any damage to the Smurfs legacy (unlike the horrible live action ones). Actually, I’m not entirely sure why this movie doesn’t quite work. It could’ve been worse but a dull story and some pretty bad casting of voice actors who didn’t suit the characters made for an hour & a half that felt very long in our uncomfortable cinema seats. I hated Gargamel – sorry Rainn Wilson! And Jack McBrayer as Clumsy Smurf probably isn’t to everyone’s taste… His voice can get highly irritating after an hour & a half (or two minutes). I guess Demi Lovato was fine as Smurfette since I didn’t really give her voice any thought and didn’t know until the end credits who had played her. There’s some bland & totally forgettable pop music in the movie, which always annoys me in kids’ films. Oh – except for Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65, which is a thoroughly embarrassing guilty pleasure of mine. Pure cheese! But less embarrassing than this movie.

Okay – a slight spoiler now (if you care). But as my kid pointed out during the movie, she knew all about the lost village already thanks to the toys that have been released (my kid likes to complain about SPOILERS! It’s adorable). The totally predictable & not at all surprising mystery of the lost village is that it’s all girl Smurfs. So Smurfette is finally not the only female Smurf. I’d have never guessed! I only bring it up because it felt like that all female community on The Walking Dead, giving me & hubby the opportunity to make Negan jokes to each other throughout the film to help ease our boredom. Maybe we can make Smurfs jokes to ease our boredom while watching The Walking Dead next season (since that show SUCKS lately – why do we keep watching?!). I think this “review” is finished. I’m going to go do some housework.

My Rating: 4.5/10

Wreck-It Ralph (2012) Review

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Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Directed by Rich Moore

Starring Voice Actors:
John C. Reilly
Sarah Silverman
Jack McBrayer
Jane Lynch
Alan Tudyk
Mindy Kaling
Joe Lo Truglio
Ed O’Neill
Dennis Haysbert
Adam Carolla
Horatio Sanz
Rich Moore
Edie McClurg

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Running time: 101 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
A tribute to over 30 years of the gaming industry, the film tells the story of the titular arcade game villain who rebels against his role and dreams of becoming a hero. He travels between games in the arcade, and ultimately must eliminate a dire threat that could affect the entire arcade, and one that Ralph himself inadvertently started.

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My Opinion:

I guess it’s about time to review this one. I saw this when it finally came to UK cinemas last February. I liked it fine but didn’t give it much thought after seeing it. I’ve since kind of half watched it on DVD a few times but today I actually sat down & properly watched it all the way through again and I have to say I appreciate it a lot more now than I did after my first viewing.

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The best thing about Wreck-It Ralph is the concept. LOVE it! Very clever. The concept felt more like what you’d get from a Pixar film (because Pixar is awesome). The movie starts out very strong. Seeing “a day in the life of an 80’s video game villain” was so much fun. I love how the characters from the actual Wreck-It Ralph game in the movie move around in that funny old style video game way. And Ralph grabbing some fruit from Pac-Man and going to the central airport-style station in between games and seeing “homeless” characters from unplugged games there (like Q*Bert) was absolutely brilliant! But I’m old so I’m a sucker for all the 80’s video game references in this, even though I was never that big on video games.

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When Ralph goes into the modern day Hero’s Duty game in order to try to win a medal and prove he’s actually a good guy, it was funny to see how an old school video game character wasn’t able to handle being in one of these new fandangled games. It was a bit like how I feel about life. Such as how my 1970s born self can’t understand teenagers of today. I mean – what is this world I’m living in now?? And, no – I can’t play their fancy modern day games either. What a load of crap! Give me Space Invaders. 😉

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I think the thing that made me not totally *love* Wreck-It Ralph at first was the whole Sugar Rush/Vanellope part of the movie. Vanellope can be a little annoying, yes. I know people feel that same way about the person voicing her (Sarah Silverman) so, if you hate her, you’re not going to like Vanellope. I don’t mind her so I was fine with all that and I have to say that the character has really grown on me. She may be a cheeky little brat but you feel for her once you know her whole story and her relationship with Ralph is very sweet. Plus she’s really cute with her green outfit and candy stuck in her hair! I appreciate the whole Sugar Rush part of the movie much more now. Oh! And I love Fix-It Felix and his crush on Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun from Hero’s Duty is really funny.

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Summary:

Wreck-It Ralph has a fairly standard Disney-fied ending and moral but I still thought it was far more original than most kids’ films plus I wasn’t actually able to spot the “twist” beforehand and didn’t know how they’d solve problems like Vanellope’s glitch. Wreck-It Ralph is a very clever movie and way more satisfying than your usual kids’ film. The story of video game characters living a life outside of the arcade’s opening hours and being able to go from game to game is brilliant, the movie looks really good, Ralph is a great character, his relationship with Vanellope is heartwarming in a non-annoying way, Vanellope will grow on you once you’ve watched the movie enough, and the retro video game references were loads of fun. Plus it’s great when a kids’ film manages to have plenty for both boys and girls to love – too many (non-Pixar) kids’ movies are aimed at one or the other, which I find annoying. Wreck-It Ralph is fun for boys, girls, and adults of all ages.

My Rating: 8/10

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