If you read only one blog full of ranting and raving about sports (local and otherwise), movies, TV shows, miscellaneous pop culture, life and other assorted flotsam and jetsam, make it this one!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Movie Catching Up, Part One

I 've been so behind on this because of my current life circumstances, but I am determined to get back on track. At least the older films are on Blu-ray or DVD or On Demand. (I decided to split this into multiple posts, BTW.)

Central Intelligence stars Kevin Hart, who's in pretty much every movie now, and Dwayne Johnson, who's also in pretty much every movie now. It starts with a flashback to high school. Hart is the BMOC with a bright future and comes to the rescue of the nerdy Johnson (in a fat suit) after a bullying incident. (By this way, am I detecting a trend of movies inserting messages and life lessons and such? I mentioned it in my comments on Zootopia.) Cut to a few yars later and Hart hasn't soared, working as an accountant. One day the Rock -- still nerdy but now buff -- shows up at Hart's workplace, claiming to be a CIA agent, needing Hart's accounting skills to prevent a terrorist attack. The plot is confusing/preposterous but the leads are fun. My grade: B.

It took almost as long as Pixar to make a sequel to Finding Nemo as it took me to get around to writing this post. Finding Dory focuses on the blue tang (again voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) with short-term memory loss. But Dory begins to remember brief snippets of her childhood and getting separated from her parents. She sets off to find them, and soon Nemo and his father Marlin are on her trail. Despite some new characters it's kind of a retread -- but wait! This film has a message too.This one's about the challenges faced by parents raising a special needs child. If you're dealing with this you may particularly identify with tjhe flashbacks to Dory's parents. My grade: B.

The first trailer for The Secret Life of Pets made me want to see it. It didn't reveal any plot details, though. It opens in a Manhattan apattment building as various pet owners say goodbye to their pets as they go off to work, etc., after which all the pets hang out together. Then one woman, owner of a Jack Russell Terrier named Jack, adopts a big dog named Duke from the pound. The two clash (jealousy issues) and that leads to misadventures on the mean streets (and sewers) of NYC. Kevin Hart (told you, he's in everything) voices the leader of a gang of abandoned pets. He's an angry...white fluffy bunny. Ultimately, despite some funny bits, it was kinda meh. My grade: C-minus.

Next are a couple of raunchy comedies (this first one more so). Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates -- the title explains the basic plot: brothers Adam Devine (starting to approach Hart/Rock status) and Zac Efron manage to wreck every big family gathering with their partying antics. Their parents order them to behave and bring respectable dates to their sister's upcoming wedding in Hawaii. A Craigslist ad leads to a TV appearance, which leads to two friends  (Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza) who are definitely not very respectable, but they fake it to get the free trip to the wedding. Hijinks ensue. Lots of R-rated sexual content but later comes some sweet and romantic moments as well as feelings begin to develop between characters. It was not as bad as I expected going in. My grade: C-plus.

The Bad Moms in this one are considered "bad" for different reasons by different characters. For example, Amy (Mila Kunis) is overwhelmed by her job, her two kids and her PTA duties, especially when she throws her husband out of the house for online cheating (which potentially could lead to some sexytime of her own with a hunky widowed father.) One day she breaks, letting her kids fend for themselves and quitting the PTA, making an enemy in its dominating president (Christiana Applegate). Amy fights back with the help of two more "bad" moms (Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn). And believe it or not I found a message -- about modern-day parenting and the way society has affected it. Kids are often overloaded with activities to get into better schools or pad their records for college, often stressing them out as well as their well-meaning parents. Come on, people, we all need down time! My grade: B.

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