Tag Archives: The Cubicle Escapee

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: DESPICABLE ME 3

The best thing I can tell you about this film is that this one is at least better than the awful 2nd film and the ho-hum Minions film. What has happened to this franchise? The first film is a lovable tale with a good story that everyone fell in love with. But then people fell too in love with the Minions, and the franchise became a product placement like all the Cars films are. I can’t even remember the 2nd film, only that the Minions stole the show and Gru met Kristen Wiig’s characters, and there was some Mexican bad guy. This film has a more memorable villain, thanks to the comedic voice talents of South Park’s Trey Parker, but even he can’t even save the film from having too many subplots, too much slapstick humor and not enough smart original jokes, and and uninspired main plot. The minions fortunately or unfortunately however you want to look at it, of course steal the show entirely.

Yeah, the two funniest bits in the film are the minions accidentally interrupting a singing competition and the minions life in jail after they leave Gru because “he’s not villainous enough.” So that’s one plot point, let’s count all the other in a 90 minute film. 2. Kristen Wiig’s character wanting to be a good new mother. 3. Agnes wanting to find a real unicorn (the middle child doesn’t get a subplot surprisingly. 4. The older daughter having to ward away this young Danish boy who she took a bite of cheese from (I know, lame, and it’s solved pretty damn quickly that it isn’t even really much of a subplot). 5. Gru dealing with his new long lost brother Dru. 6. Trey Parker’s Balthazar Bratt becoming insane after the cancellation of his tv show and having no reason to take over the world other than he wants to be his character that was on the show and be an excellent “bad boy.” 7. Gru and Kristen Wiig (I don’t care enough to know her characters name) getting fired from the saving the world league they were in and trying to get back in. Jesus.

7 plots and subplots all in the span of 90 minutes. And you could feel it too. The film is way too overstuffed. They could come up with one or two main plots and make a loving, sweet, and coeherant story. Instead they basically ignore the children (which their plot made the first film so sweet, and the children are completely ignored in the second film) and instead focus on slapstick humor between Gru and his brother, and of course, the Minions. Didn’t the Minions get their own movie so they could concentrate on trying to tell an actual story in this third outing? At least that’s what the filmmakers told us when this started getting made. Maybe halfway through they couldn’t come up with any ideas, said “fuck it,” and threw everything out the window.

This film has hardly any original jokes. Everything feels borrowed from other films and most of the jokes are just people falling and getting hurt kind of humor, tons of overused slapstick. The writing here is the laziest since…well, I guess Cars 3, haha. I mean, they couldn’t have come up with another main story featuring the girls mainly, combine that with the good mother thing from Wiig, get rid of the other brother angle, keep Trey Parker (who is the best part of this film by the way and seems like he is happy to be doing something else other than South Park), and it be at least half way decent? It’s been several years since the 2nd one, and you would’ve thought they would’ve learned from their mistakes, but I guess not. Maybe it is time to hire some new writers as well.

There is a but to all this. The but is that kids will enjoy it no matter what. They will love the slapstick stuff, love the minions, love another unicorn story with Agnes, love the ending with the bubble gum town and ripping off the end of Age of Ultron. They will love every second of this film, because kids do not know any better. Which is fine, I’m going to experience all that stuff in several years when my child grows up. But if you are going to make a movie for kids, and ones that adults will need to take their kids too, at least make it decent for the adults as well and not insult their intelligence. The voice work is still great from everyone, even Carrell, who I thought always has done fantastic work in these, but the substance does not match up to style here. At least I can say it was better than 2, but that again isn’t saying all that much. It’s despicable I couldn’t like this film better.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE BEGUILED

I think after THE BEGUILED, I’m officially considering writer/director Sofia Coppola a one-hit wonder. And this isn’t even the hit, that would belong to Lost in Translation. The Beguiled is almost everything bad I could say about a film at this moment. Pacing is bad, original (that’s right, it’s a remake) is much better, editing is choppy, acting is ho-hum, character development was awful, direction was one-note, none of the feelings were believable, characters made weird decisions too quickly and it was an absolute snooze fest. Gee Zach, tell me what you really thought about it? Well, I just did, but I guess I could go into some more detail…

The only thing that was good about this film was the dreary mood and the cinematography. It was a pretty looking film. That’s about all the praise you’ll hear from me. Sofia Coppola has directed a bunch of stinkers. I can’t stand Somewhere, The Virgin Suicides, The Bling Ring, and Marie Antoinette. I don’t know why I love Lost In Translation so much. Maybe I need to watch it again to find out if the film still holds up. Sofia Coppola was known for her terrible acting as Corleone’s daughter in Godfather Part III, but I also think she is a terrible writer. Not so much director as she is not bad at all at some camera work, but her screenplays are absolutely dreadful, weird, and just plain Jane.

I mean, I’ve seen the original with Clint Eastwood, and I guess they remade it to make it seem more dreary and dreadful, because while the actions of the characters make sense in the original, they don’t make sense here at all. In fact, I think this movie could’ve been BETTER with about 30 minutes added onto it (it’s only 90) with some more character development. For instance, Colin Farrell talks to Kirsten Dunst’s character ONCE and stares at her in a couple of scenes, he says “I love you,” to her in the next scene, and then is trying to get in Elle Fannings pants less than a minute later. Makes absolutely zero sense. The film only starts to pick up once Colin Farrell re breaks his leg, but the film only has 20 minutes left. The ending is the same as it was in the original, but here it feels less earned.

Farrell is nice one minute and awful the next with no subtext. Even Nicole Kidman’s character, who is icy to him the entire time at one point almost kisses him. There was absolutely no basis for any of the characters actions. No motive. It was complete drivel. Did Sofia Coppola actually watch the original film or did she just skip through it and go, “I think I’ll just make it more dreary and with less substance, that’ll make a good film!”

How Sofia Coppola won the Palme D’or at the Cannes Film Festival for this is beyond me. I’m puzzled unless the other films weren’t that great as well or if the judges were in a weird mood. Just like The Bling Ring, Somewhere, and Marie Antoinette, this is going to be on my worst list at the end of the year. Sofia Coppola needs to direct from someone else’s script, because she needs to quit writing.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE BIG SICK

Thank the movie Gods, looks like maybe the Summer movie season is really starting to kick in. After the wonderful Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it’s been a ho-hum shit kind of summer with big stinkers such as Transformers 5 million, All Eyez On Me, 47 Meters Down, Beatriz At Dinner, Cars 3, It Comes At Night, some would put The Mummy in there, Baywatch. The only other excellent movie we’ve gotten in between all that crap was Wonder Woman. But now, we got Baby Driver, and this Friday, you can experience the wonderful hilarious romantic joy that is THE BIG SICK.

If you don’t know what The Big Sick is, well that baffles me because they’ve been promoting the shit out of it. It’s based on a true story with Kumail Nanjiani, playing himself of course, where he meets his current wife Emily and after being together awhile and shortly after a break up, she ends up in a medically induced coma. The doctors don’t know what is wrong with her, and Kumail meets and hangs around Emily’s parents, waiting to see if Emily will recover and if maybe this whole experience changes him in a way.

Even if this wasn’t a true tale, and the real husband and wife duo just wrote this as a mere piece of fiction, this is still one of the better romantic dramedies to come out in recent years. In fact, this is what Funny People really should have been. What’s funny is that the two correlate very well with the whole stand up comedians and sickness type plot scenario. But what makes this film truly special, and a whole lot better than Funny People ever was, is that it is a true story, this movie feels real even though Kumail is the only one playing himself, and this movie is actually hilarious.

Some would say the movie is too long, running at almost 2 hours. However, I would strongly disagree. The film’s pacing and plot structure are perfect. If the movie was cut any further, I might not have believed the love between Kumail and Emily was real and wasn’t rooting for them to end up together in the end (even though I know they get married in real life). It gets to the sickness gradually, and then when she is in a medically induced coma, his relationship with her parents has perfect progression as well. In fact, in the whole movie I don’t see one scene that could’ve been cut or trimmed. Everything feels necessary. Even the extended scenes with Kumail’s family wanting him to meet and marry a Pakistani girl and their disapproval with his life.

Now let’s get to the acting real quick. I love Kumail Nanjiani on Silicon Valley, but here, even playing himself, he is absolutely fantastic. His Silicon Valley character is completely gone, and here he is, just him, making me have a lump in my throat in one scene where he is completely bombing a stand up comedic act to talk about how he can’t do comedy when the girl that he loves is in a coma. Holly Hunter is great here too, and Zoe Kazan is adorable as Emily, so adorable I wonder if she did the real Emily justice. But the real standout here, as a friend of mine mentioned, is Ray Romano. Ray Romano gives his best performance to date. Better than any episode of Everybody Loves Raymond could ever have given you. He gives Emily’s dad words and story arc life, and he ends up being the most likable character in the movie. If there is only one reason for this film being worth the price of admission, it’s Romano’s performance.

Go see The Big Sick as soon as you can (comes out Friday). Bring a date, see it with friends and family. It is that type of movie. Even being rated R, it is a movie any family would enjoy (if your kids are at least age 13 and up). I don’t think I’m being hasty to call this the best romantic comedy of the year, and that it will end up on my top ten – fifteen list by January 2018. It really is that lovable, wholesome, and good. The two hours flew by, and I wanted to see more of Kumail and Emily’s life, even if it didn’t have a plot too it. This romantic comedy should be the standard when it comes to those types of films. Near perfect, and you definitely won’t get sick of it.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: OKJA (A Netflix Original Movie that comes to the platform tomorrow 6/28)

OKJA, just like the previous directors efforts of Snowpiercer and The Host, is a weird little fantastic film. I actually loved this movie a little bit and it is definitely Netflix’s best original movie that it has released yet (which is nice after that God awful War Machine film with Brad Pitt). If you haven’t seen Snowpiercer or The Host, I suggest you watch those films from director Bong Joon-Ho first before digging deep into this film. His films have a grand-smallish scale that brings a lot of weirdness but treats it as if it is absolutely serious. I can’t believe Okja isn’t being released in theaters, because it deserves to be, although I guess Netflix is changing everything about the game as we know it.

If there is one, no two reasons to not miss Okja, it is the peformances from Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaul. Swinton has two roles as the Mirando sisters, CEO’s of a giant company looking to solve world hunger but also hiding its dirty little secrets to get to that point. She plays the sisters as psychotic and socialistic with one having the personality of a much older grown woman and one with the personality of a teen that gets upset when she doesn’t get what she wants. And the performance is fantastic. Gyllenhaul’s performance might be a little turn off for some. He plays a zoologist and TV personality that is in league with the Mirando sisters. He plays it as if Ace Ventura and Brian Fellows (Tracy Morgan’s character on SNL) has sex and had a baby. It is an off the wall bonkers performance that I can’t decide if it was brilliant, annoying or both. Hearing him screech is a thing that needs to be heard at least once.

If you don’t know what this film is about look into trying to watch a trailer for it. Basically, a girl, with her grandfather, have been raising Okja since birth. Okja is a giant, giant pig animal experimentation hybrid that was made by the Mirando Corporation in ways to solve world hunger, by eating them when they grow up. How it is going to solve world hunger? I’ll let the movie explain that to you if you see it. Anyway, Okja is being used as a patsy to get the world hunger project from getting off the ground and is being brought to a giant parade celebrating the movement in New York City. The girl, named Mija, just loves Okja too much and wants her as a lifetime companion and goes to find Okja when she is taken away from her.

Then you of course have Animal Right Activists looking to free Okja while also exploiting the evils of the Mirando Corporation. And that gang is played by Paul Dano, Steven Yeun (Glenn on the Walking Dead), and Lily Collins. Their performances are all good, but they mostly play it straight and don’t go too off the book in regards to what they have done/played before. The movie itself acts like a giant chase film, with a couple of big action sequences, heartfelt revelations, and a couple of twists and turns.

To warn you, this movie is Not Rated on Netflix, but it would certainly be rated R if it were in theaters. This movie is not for kids. There are F words a plenty and we do go inside a meat killing floor facility at one point. There is also a scene where Okja is forced to breed later on down the road. But what I loved about the film is that the ending is bittersweet. You get what you expected but then there is that added layer that brings up so much more conflict, but in reality, a little girl couldn’t do everything for everyone.

But the movie was fun. It’s sweet, horrifying, heartfelt, heartbreaking, and just plain enjoyable. It also is a film that makes you think. And while some of the weirdness is a little absurd, it does make sense in that particular universe, and while weird, it is also very serious (you’ll see). Out of Bong-Joo Ho’s films I still like Snowpiercer better, but this is a very close second.  I do like how he is making a hybrid of Japanese and American film atmospheres and techniques. Definitely better than the big budget epic action failure that The Great Wall tried to accomplish. If you have Netflix or know someone that has Netflix, it comes out tomorrow and I suggest checking it out. It is the best their original films have had to offer so far other than their TV shows.