Tag: chris pratt

MOVIE REVIEW | ***JURASSIC WEEK*** Jurassic World (2015)

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“Monster is a relative term. To a canary, a cat is a monster. We’re just used to being the cat.”

Having never seen any of the previous movies in this series until this week, I was pretty ambivalent about the idea of another Jurassic Park movie.  But after binging on the previous three movies and really enjoying all of them, I was all of a sudden not excited about Jurassic World, but worried.  I was ready to suspend plenty of disbelief.  After all, this is a monster movie about dinosaurs being brought back to life, who end up rampaging through a theme park full of holidaying families.  But the trailers that showed Chris Pratt’s character hanging out with tame velociraptors seemed like it was pushing things a little too far. However, the largest opening weekend in movie history is a hard thing to ignore, so I had put my concerns aside, and see Jurassic World.


20 years after the events of the first movie, John Hammond’s dream has finally come true, and a dinosaur filled theme park is now a reality.  The only problem is, it’s been a reality for a decade and people have become bored with the regular old dinosaurs on display.  So, scientists at the park have created a new one.  Splicing genes from different breeds, they’ve bred the Indominus Rex.  Bigger, faster, smarter and teethier than anything that ever actually existed.  Once again, as in every entry in this movie franchise, science and big business have run amuck and the good natured naturalists will have to clean up the mess. (more…)

***2014 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | The Lego Movie (2014)

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Co-writers and directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are building a solid reputation.  I never saw Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, but I know it got way better reviews than I ever expected for a movies called Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  And with 21 Jump Street, they managed to take a seemingly lazy, cynical, nostalgia based cash grab, and turn it into one of the funniest comedies of its year.  It also made me notice the comic awesomeness of Channing Tatum.


Now, they’ve done it again.  If there’s anything that could have been more of a lazy, cynical, nostalgia based cash grab than a movie based on a cheesy 80s TV show, it’s a movie based on a kids’ toy.  Especially a kids’ toy that doesn’t even come with characters or built in back story.  But like 21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie has too much genuine affection for its characters and history, to ever be lazy, cynical, or nostalgically cash grabby. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Lego Movie (2014)

the-lego-movie-poster10
Co-writers and directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are building a solid reputation.  I never saw Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, but I know it got way better reviews than I ever expected for a movies called Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  And with 21 Jump Street, they managed to take a seemingly lazy, cynical, nostalgia based cash grab, and turn it into one of the funniest comedies of its year.  It also made me notice the comic awesomeness of Channing Tatum.


Now, they’ve done it again.  If there’s anything that could have been more of a lazy, cynical, nostalgia based cash grab than a movie based on a cheesy 80s TV show, it’s a movie based on a kids’ toy.  Especially a kids’ toy that doesn’t even come with characters or built in back story.  But like 21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie has too much genuine affection for its characters and history, to ever be lazy, cynical, or nostalgically cash grabby.

Chris Pratt is the voice of Emmett, an everyday Lego man construction worker.  He lives in a town where everyone’s lives are ruled by instruction manuals.  Waking up and getting ready for work, making small talk with colleagues, dancing to Lego World hit single Everything is Awesome…  All of these things come with a step by step manual that Emmett is only too eager to follow.

Until he’s burdened with the Piece of Resistance, a weird mysterious object that might be the key to saving them all from the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell).  To help discover his inner hero, Emmett teams up with cyber punk Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Virtruvius (Morgan Freeman), Batman (Will Arnett) and Benny (Charlie Day).

The Lego Movie has been made by people who obviously had a real connection to Lego and everything that comes with it as kids.  The little nods to things like Benny the space man’s broken helmet, the lollypop stick as Vitruvius’s staff, Lego pieces intended for one purpose being co-opted for another (like Lord Business’ horns made from coffee mugs).  The love for everything Lego is just too obvious to ignore.

The other major achievement in The Lego Movie is the way it injects actual (and literal) human emotion.  And while the execution of this aspect might be a little heavy handed, the ingenuity in how it’s worked in, more than makes up the cheese.

On some levels, The Lego Movie is a rip off of The Matrix, a rip off of every ‘be yourself’ kids’ move you’ve ever seen, and a rip off of every ‘everyman discovers he’s chosen one’ story ever told.  But none of that matters.  Because while the ingredients might seem clichéd, obvious and overdone, the end result is just too fun, too fresh and too entertaining.  Lord and Miller have once again proven that they don’t just polish turds or put lip stick on pigs, they are story miracle workers, turning even the oldest and most obvious tropes into a world where everything is awesome.

The Lego Movie
Directed By – Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Written By – Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

MOVIE REVIEW | The Five-Year Engagement (2012)

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Jason Segel is the “other guy” from the Apatow stable.  He doesn’t pop up in three or four movies year like Seth Rogen and James Franco, has hasn’t taken any writer for hire gigs like Rogen did in Green Hornet and he’s probably more well known for his TV day job on How I Met Your Mother than he is for movies.  But he did write and star in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which is more than enough goodwill to get me to watch The Five-Year Engagement.


This is a standard rom-com in a lot of ways, but it subverts enough of the expected sameness to stand out a little from the crowd at the same time.  Firstly, Tom and Violet, played by Segel and Emily Blunt are already together when the movies starts.  So even though we’re not saved from a sickeningly sweet meet-cute (we get that through a flashback), it does mean there’s no torturous “getting to know you” portion to sit through.

In case the title doesn’t give the conceit away, the opening minutes do as Segel’s meticulously planned romantic proposal planes by the San Francisco Bay are disrupted every step of the way.  But the major upset comes later, when Blunt accepts a job in snow covered Michigan.  Segel is happy to delay wedding plans, and his career as a chef to follow Blunt and her dream.

Here’s where the one major problem I have with this movie kicks in.  Blunt’s dream job is working in the psychology department at a university, conducting seemingly pointless tests.  That’s harsh, there is a point.  The point is to make us, the audience, laugh at the half-assed, ever-so-rediculos experiments Blunt and her colleagues come up with.  Aren’t psycho-babble funny and wacky experiments funny?  Yeah, they are.  And The Five-Year Engagement wrings some of its best laughs out of these scenes, but I found it hard to suspend enough disbelief to accept that Segel’s character would give up his flourishing career to indulge in Blunt’s pointless flight of fancy.

But, he does, and they move to Michigan.  Once there, Segel’s Tom gets the typical “fish out of water” story arc.  He hates it, he meets some interesting new friends, he grudgingly accepts it, he accepts things a little too much and goes a little too deep into his new lifestyle.  And because this parallels the standard rom-com arc, it all has to lead to a break up at the end of the second act.  Amongst all of this are Chris Pratt as Segel’s dumb best friend and Alison Brie as Blunt’s uptight sister.  Even with all this by the numbers, box ticking standard stuff, Segels’ script still found enough ways to surprise me along the way.

Segel and director Nicholas Stoller scored a big hit with Forgetting Sarah Marshall…  Emily Blunt is crazy hot and a great actor…  At more than two hours, it’s little long for a comedy, but there are more than enough laughs to get you through.   Yet, from what I can tell, The Five-Year Engagement was really overlooked and kind of just came and went.  That’s a shame, because it really is different and interesting in its approach to being a romantic comedy.

The Five-Year Engagement
Directed By – Nicholas Stoller
Written By – Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller