Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)


We Just Have a Bad History with Freaks Dressed like Clowns.

Batman v Superman (2016)The only thing I can think of that attracts me to see a movie more than the fact that it’s a comic book movie is when I hear that it’s terrible.  Especially with today’s movie.  I was always a Marvel fan growing up, so when I hear that a DC movie is shitty, I feel the need to go revel in their failure … and act like there hasn’t been a Marvel that was terrible.  Elektra was great, guys!  The reviews for today’s movie, and some fear of spoilers, made me rush out to see it, and then I had me some thoughts.  So I will now write them down as I review Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, written by David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio, directed by Zack Snyder, and starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Holly Hunter, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, and Ray Fisher.

In an attempt to explain why it was totally cool that Superman (Henry Cavill) destroyed the greater Metropolis area in his battle with General Zod (Michael Shannon), Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) is upset that his favorite corporate headquarters was knocked down in the fight … and he’s probably bothered that that people died and some dude lost his legs.  Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) also doesn’t like Superman, and decides to use the corpse of General Zod to take Supes out.  In the meantime, he sets out to pit Batman (also Ben Affleck) and Superman against each other.  It works and they V.  They V it up!

Disappointingly, the critics apparently thought they were going in to see Shakespeare or something.  This movie was not terrible.  It doesn’t blow the mind, but it doesn’t blow anything else either.  It’s what I wanted and expected.  Perhaps one could find it disappointing just knowing that it’s based on the Dark Knight Returns, which is one of the best Batman comics I’ve ever read.  This movie isn’t that good and doesn’t quite live up to the comic, but it’s solid.  It has its problems, but it delivers on what it promises.  One of those problems is that they went back to the stupid green rocks that are the major antagonist in every Superman movie.  I thought it was the big decree in Man of Steel that they wouldn’t be relying on those?  Well, I guess they need to use everything they can to make Superman interesting.  Another problem I had was with the constant dream sequences.  They did like 7 of them!  Just whenever they realized that they hadn’t done any action scenes in a while, they teased us with a fake one.  They even had a dream sequence WITHIN A DREAM SEQUENCE!  Fuck you movie.

Probably the biggest problem with the movie is that it’s fairly predictable.  Sure, I’ve read the comic that it’s based on, but it’s LOOSELY based on it, so you can’t say for sure where it’s going.  Then you could say it’s obvious because … well because it is.  Who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman?  The same person that would win in a fight between Superman and anyone: Superman.  Superman’s powers might as well condense themselves to be “Whatever he needs to do to win eventually.”  And you can throw green rocks at him and slow him down a little, but I’ve seen him lift an island made out of green rocks in Superman Returns, so that doesn’t mean that much.  But Batman is too popular and cool to let lame ass Superman beat him, so who wins?  I was asked this question shortly after this movie was announced and my prediction was, “Stalemate.”  They battle to a stalemate so that no fans have that much ammo to complain with and then they realize there’s a bigger problem and they team up.  The title gives that away!  “Dawn of Justice?”  Meaning it will dawn on them that they should create a League of some sort, with Justice in the name somewhere.  But I didn’t come to this movie to be surprised.  I just wanted to see them fight and for things to explode.

And explode they did!  The action was pretty good, but not without their problems.  For instance, do you all know how the best part of any Batman movie is when he kicks the shit out of a building full of bad guys, but we just hear about it from witness reports later?  Yeah, I don’t either!  The first two or three times Batman does something awesome, we find out about it when the police enter the building and find a bunch of unconscious bad guys and one of them has a bat branded on his chest.  And if we’re lucky, we’ll find out that Batman was goofily hanging out in the upper corner of the room hoping no one would turn their head and see him there.  Then, when we finally see Batman do something, he’s not great at it because he’s wearing a big chunky suit to fight Superman, but I did find that fight pretty similar to Dark Knight Returns and pretty satisfying.  And later, while fighting Doomsday, the writers really couldn’t figure out anything for Batman to do so he spent the battle hiding or running from laser blasts while Wonder Woman and Superman did all the work.  But between that, Batman did a pretty sweet Arkham City impression when he whooped up on a room of baddies in true Bat-fashion.  Does it sound like I’m only talking about Batman fights?  Well that’s true.  Because Superman can suck it and Wonder Woman is underused.

The loudest cries from the nerd community before this movie were about Ben Affleck.  He already ruined a superhero when he made Daredevil, so how could he do what Chris Evans and Ryan Reynolds did already and redeem themselves with their next attempt at a superhero?  Also, we liked the last Batman, and remember how we all liked the last Joker when it was Nicholson so we preemptively hated Ledger?  And then he was terrible and in no way blew the last one out of the water?  That couldn’t happen again!  Well he was good.  He did redeem himself from Daredevil with me and, though I wouldn’t say he blew Bale out of the water, he at least rose to the challenge and did not disappoint.  So I’m absolutely convinced that the next time an actor has to change, the nerd community will be understanding.  But one of the biggest complaints about these recent DC movies is their gross misunderstanding of the characters as we know them.  Man of Steel=Superman kills someone.  Supes don’t kill.  BvS=Batman uses a gun the first time we see him.  Bats don’t shoot.  Granted, it was just a dream sequence, but since I’ve already said those could go fuck off, I will say this particular one also goes to fuck off.  It’s like taking away Deadpool’s mouth when his nickname is The Merc with a Mouth.  And who would be dumb enough to do that?  Supes was fine in the movie though.  He seemed very Superman.  I hated him, but that that means he captured the character correctly.  Although he did feel at times like he wasn’t doing anything for the world unless it involved saving Lois Lane.  And when Superman tells Batman to stop being Batman?  Fuck you, Supes!  How are you gonna tell this man not to be violent?  ‘Cause he don’t need to go the same route that you went?  Forget about that!

A lot of the secondary characters were good as well, except maybe some of them shouldn’t have been so secondary!  Wonder Woman?  WAY underused.  Dub Dubs just spends most of the movie as a hot chick walking around all mysterious-like.  Way to waste a great female character!  Let’s step that up for the next movie, shall we?  She basically only Dub Dubs it for the last battle of the movie.  But her intro was rad.  It was strong, powerful, and COMPLETELY RUINED BY THE TRAILER!  It was awesome, but since it was pretty much the only time you used her in the movie, it was the only scene you could show in the trailer.  But she totally had the lasso, and that was worth it.  They had other superheroes too, but don’t get your hopes up.  They were just shown in surveillance footage.  It was cool to see them, but not significant.  Lois was there too.  I don’t know why she had to be in a tub at one point.  I assume people will complain about that in much the same way as that scene in Star Trek Into Darkness.  It was just unnecessary, but I’m not too bothered by it.  That’s for the rest of the internet to bother complaining about.  I found Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Lex Luthor annoying for the greater majority of the movie, but it was pretty good once he started letting out the evil near the end.  He didn’t seem quite as smart as Lex is usually portrayed though.  Lex is supposed to be a super genius, so how is his big plan to fight Superman to reanimate the guy that Superman just beat?  It would seem that the real smart money would be to bet on literally anyone that Superman hasn’t beaten over the one guy that he has.  And lastly, why are Superman’s parents the worst?  In Man of Steel and in this movie, their big thing is trying to talk Superman out of doing anything good with the special abilities only he has.  Even when the option is either you let Clark be Superman just a little bit so that dad doesn’t get swept away by a tornado!  The Kents used to be so nice!

So that’s what I thought about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Nowhere near as bad as most critics said it was.  It’s exactly what I expected.  Batman v’s Superman, and it’s pretty cool.  What more could you want?  Besides maybe a little more Wonder Woman.  I say go see it.  And if there were any chance of that, you probably already have or have made plans to.  But I’m gonna take credit for it.  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gets “That son of a bitch brought the war to us” out of “I thought she was with you.”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

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Now You See Me (2013)


Who Doesn’t Love a Good Magic Trick?

Now You See Me (2013)As the day of my birth approaches, I decided that I should not be at work as I turned 30.  Well, not at one of my jobs at least.  I would spend my vacation from one job working on the one I actually enjoy: stuff-reviewing.  The first step would be to make my way to the theaters, with my friend Greg in tow.  There were a few movies that I wanted to see in theaters, but Greg had either already seen them or had no desire.  We agreed only on today’s movie.  This movie had piqued my interest when I saw trailers for it, but I had apprehensions about it.  It seemed like an interesting enough premise, but I worried at the movie’s ability to realize that interest.  We find out how well it did as I review Now You See Me, written by Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, and Edward Ricourt, directed by Louis Leterrier, and starring Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Common, Michael J. Kelly, and Elias Koteas.

A few stray tarot cards bring together four magicians – Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) – with a plan to accomplish three amazing feats for a mysterious benefactor.  They become “The Four Horsemen,” sponsored by insurance magnate Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine).  For their first trick, they rob a bank in Paris and give all the money to the audience.  This attracts the attention of FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol Agent Alma Vargas (Mélanie Laurent), who need to figure out how they did it and what they intend on doing next.  For that, they enlist the help of an ex-magician who makes a living debunking other magicians, Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman).

I enjoyed this movie.  It was not without its share of problems, but I still found the experience enjoyable.  I found the premise of the movie to be the most compelling part.  The idea of magicians using their abilities for “evil” instead of their usual motivation of “pussy” was very interesting to me, and I thought it was clever how they did it.  I especially liked when Jack Wilder fought the two FBI Agents using magic as a fighting style.  I wasn’t able to figure out their Las Vegas stunt until they revealed it to us.  Their New Orleans stunt was much more predictable and much less mystifying, especially with what they did with the word “Freeze” and how easy it would be to make someone’s money move from one account to another with a simple computer, but there were still some clever ideas in there.  I feel like the problem I had with the movie was that it practically dared the audience to figure it out and to be wary of misdirection, but overall wasn’t clever enough to make it happen.  When one of the characters tells Rhodes that someone might be a spy for the magicians, you can pretty much rest assured that it won’t be either the character that told him that or the character he was talking about.  That would be too easy.  But it doesn’t leave many options, so it wasn’t that hard to figure out.  And though you might not have known how they accomplished something, you can have an idea that something was accomplished, like the part in the story with a car crash.  I didn’t know how it was faked, but it’s a movie about magic.  Of course it was faked.  I would also say that the movie started off by getting me, because I totally picked the card that Jesse Eisenberg put on the side of the building, but there’s also a chance that this could’ve been manufactured with camera tricks.  I also felt like Woody Harrelson’s mentalism stuff was mainly included for exposition, because he delivered most of the character’s backstories using that stuff.

The cast of the movie was great, with no real complaints.  They got great people so I would expect nothing less.  Jesse Eisenberg plays nervous and self-conscious better than he plays a cocky douche, but he did very well.  Isla Fisher is hot, and I heard she almost drowned at one point in this movie, so props for the commitment as well.  Woody Harrelson was pretty entertaining all the way through, and he got to be the funny one in the group most of the time.  I’ve loved me some Mark Ruffalo ever since he was the Hulk, and I found myself worried for the magicians that they might get him too angry.  They might not enjoy that.  I was also very excited to see Mélanie Laurent since I haven’t seen her since I fell in love with her in Inglourious Basterds.  Long distance relationships are always so hard…  I also got to thinking that, with both Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman in this movie, how could they not have been able to get Christian Bale (and maybe even Hugh Jackman) to come in for a pivotal scene at the end of the movie where they just yell, “THE PRESTIGE!” and dance around in circles?  It would’ve made the movie for me.  But sometimes, I just want to watch the flash paper burn…

I thought the premise of Now You See Me was great, but there just wasn’t enough magic in the storytelling.  Their clever ideas also activated the parts of the brain that cause us to try to figure out how magic is accomplished, but the story wasn’t quite polished enough to hide their secrets from me.  But their ideas were clever enough to keep me interested, and it was presented well enough and included many great performances.  I’d say this movie is definitely worth a watch.  I don’t know that I’d say it was important enough that it need be seen immediately in theaters, but it also wouldn’t hurt.  Renting it would do fine as well.  Now You See Me gets “The more you think you see, the easier it’ll be to fool you” out of “You have what we like to call in the business, ‘nothing up your sleeve.’”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

30 Minutes or Less (2011)


I’m Holding the Bomb

When I noticed this very day that today’s movie was available at a RedBox near me, I decided I needed to see it. Not because I expected it to be good, but because it was a movie and I watch those. I had heard vaguely good things about this comedy, but mostly from people whose opinions I do not value when it comes to the quality of movies. So going into this movie, I had no strong opinions either way. Let’s see if I was right! This movie is 30 Minutes or Less, written by Michael Diliberti, directed by Ruben Fleischer, and starring Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, Fred Ward, Bianca Kajlich, Michael Pena, and Dilshad Vadsaria.

Because I went into this movie with this knowledge, I’m going to share it with you because it may have skewed my opinion of the movie itself. A very similar incident to what happened in this movie actually happened in real life, with less comedy and more actual person dying. A pizza delivery guy named Brian Wells actually had an explosive device strapped to him and he was made to rob a bank in 2003. The police captured him, but the bomb went off and killed him before the bomb squad could arrive. Also, everyone involved in this movie (from what I’ve read) acted like they had no knowledge of this incident before the movie and it was just coincidence that a pizza delivery guy has an explosive device strapped to him and he was made to rob a bank in their movie. Personally, I find myself a bit skeptical that they had no knowledge of it. I grant that I didn’t know about that incident myself, but I also didn’t write a movie that was exactly like it. Let’s see how a guy’s death becomes a comedy in this movie though.

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a pizza delivery guy. He and friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari) get into a big fight one day because Nick slept with Chet’s twin sister, Kate (Dilshad Vadsaria). Elsewhere in the same town, two guys are shooting at watermelons with a crossbow. One of them, Travis (Nick Swardson), straps mini-bombs to the watermelons for added amusement. I’m sure his internet-taught abilities to make bombs will never come up again. The other guy, Dwayne (Danny McBride), is fed up with living with his domineering, rich father who is called Major (Fred Ward). To forget their sorrows, Travis and Dwayne go to a strip club to see them some titties. Dwayne confides his story to one of the strippers, Juicy (Bianca Kajlich), who convinces Dwayne to give her $100,000 dollars to hire an assassin to kill his dad. Their big plan to get the money (which probably came from some news story, or maybe people around the world are actually getting this idea around the same time) is to get a pizza delivery boy, strap a bomb to him, and get him to rob a bank. Nick is their unlucky victim. Nick recruits Chet to help him and the two attempt to get the money in time to save Nick’s life.

I’ve made it fairly clear that I am extremely dubious that the filmmakers were completely unaware of the Brian Wells situation. What I haven’t made clear is that I would totally accept a comedy based on an unfortunate situation if it were funny enough. The biggest problem with this movie is that it’s not funny. In some situations in this movie, I wasn’t even sure what was supposed to be funny. Jesse Eisenberg makes a Facebook comment that I assume was intended to be funny at one point, but I didn’t press the “like” button on that one. The rest of them I saw were trying to be funny, they just weren’t. The next paragraph will give you my thoughts on why most of the comedy was lost on me, but for the most part, I blame the writers. I assume there was some improv to be had in this movie, but I would say the majority of the failed comedy would be the fault of the writers. A lot of things in this movie just didn’t make sense on a story level either. This would be easily forgiven were the movie funny. There were perhaps plot holes in Hot Tub Time Machine, but you don’t see a comedy for it’s story, you see it for it’s comedy. Since I wasn’t wasting my time laughing in this movie, I paid more attention to the story. First, it’s not a funny situation. Perhaps the fact that this kind of thing happened in real life made the situation too real, but it’s a situation better suited for a drama or an action movie. I don’t see the humor in life threatening situations. Or, perhaps I just didn’t see it in this movie. Jesse and Aziz spend a lot of time fucking around before they go to rob the bank, especially for a guy wearing a bomb and a guy sitting next to a guy wearing a bomb. They go shopping, go get food, go see Jesse’s girlfriend, and Jesse tells off his boss before they decide to work on getting the bomb off by robbing the bank. Then it takes them all of 5 minutes to knock that part out and escape the cops before going back to fucking around. Aziz also feels pretty comfortable making jokes about his friend who MAY be having a bit of a bad day. Another thing that bothered me is that these guys robbed the bank with plastic guns. They get the REAL gun away from the security guard at the bank, and later encounter yet another real gun, but neither of them ever think that they might be able to make use of a real gun and never pick these guns up. One of the big problems of the movie was the amount of money everyone was after. I’m not rich by a long shot, but $100,000 is not THAT much. You DID rob a bank, guys. You could’ve gotten away with more than that. The biggest problem with this movie BY FAR is that Michael Pena’s character makes a joke about the Konami code, calling it the Contra code, and reciting it as something like Up, Down, Up, Down, Select, Start. That’s bullshit, guys! The Konami code is Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start! You completely lost me at that point in the movie. And also when you didn’t do anything funny.

If I were to put this movie’s cast in order of comedic value in the movie, it would read as: Nick Swardson, Michael Pena, the end. But let’s go in order. Jesse Eisenberg doesn’t do anything comical that I can recall in this movie, but I was impressed to see that – once he got the bomb on – his performance was pretty great. He acted like Jesse Eisenberg for the first part of the movie, but when the bomb got on, he was frantic and scared. Danny McBride is really starting to bum me out. This will sound familiar to you if you’ve read all of my reviews, but “Danny McBride plays the same character Danny McBride always plays”. I need to copy that and paste it into future McBride movies. Again, this didn’t used to be a bad thing, but the last time he was funny in a movie was Tropic Thunder. I hope he can get into better movies in the future, otherwise he’s going to lose all appeal for me. I love Nick Swardson. Nick Swardson is a very strange case because he’s a hilarious guy who is usually only in awful movies, but he’s usually the funniest part. I haven’t seen Bucky Larson yet, so his ratio is still pretty good. He’s probably the funniest character in this movie, but even he doesn’t get me to laugh here. Another strange thing about the people in this movie is that people find Aziz Ansari funny. I’m not saying they’re wrong, I’m just saying that I disagree. I find Aziz to be aggressively unfunny. I’ve seen him in a couple movies, I’ve seen him in a TV show, I’ve just never seen him do something funny. Michael Pena was a strange character. He looked like a classic gangbanger, but had a really quirky quality to him that I found vaguely amusing. Just not enough to be funny with the words coming out of his mouth. On a positive note, Dilshad Vadsaria is hot.

I had heard good things about this movie, but it failed to deliver in my opinion. That being the case, I cannot personally recommend you see this movie, but I can say you can find it on RedBox so you can watch it on the cheap and form your own opinions. To me, this movie had a story not suited for comedy, which worked out for it because it also wasn’t funny. So, 30 Minutes or Less gets “Sometimes fate pulls out its big ol’ cock and slaps you right in the face” out of “Fucking victory tacos”.

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

Zombieland (2009)


Another request review, comin’ atcha!  Today I picked the non-horrible movie that I think my friend Loni suggested, Zombieland.  This movie has only 7 names in the acting credits, and stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Amber Heard, and a surprise appearance by the great Bill Murray.

Zombieland is the story of a guy known to us only as Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), a neurotic guy trying to survive in a world overrun with zombies, a task he accomplishes by making and following a set of rules.  He’s trying to get back to his parents in Columbus, Ohio when he comes across a guy we only know as Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a man trying to survive in a world overrun with zombies, a task he accomplishes by being a total, zombie-killing badass.  Tallahassee is trying to survive, but more than that, he’s trying to find a Twinkie.  Tallahassee and Columbus team up and, on a raid of a supermarket to find said Twinkie, they meet two sisters, and the younger one has been bitten.  Tallahassee agrees to shoot her to put her out of her misery, but then her older sister says that she’ll do it.  Tallahassee gives the gun to her, just to have her turn it on Tallahassee and Columbus, robbing the two of their weapons and car.  Turns out these two, Witchita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), are two girls trying to survive, a task they accomplish by conning people and leaving them to rot.  So they drive off and leave Tallahassee and Columbus to rot.  Tallahassee and Columbus soon stumble across an abandoned, but working, replacement vehicle with a backseat full of abandoned, but working, shit-ton of weapons.  Back on the road, they find their car with “HELP” written on the side.  Fearing another con, Tallahassee goes to check out the car alone.  When he calls Columbus to bring their new wheels down, he does, bringing Little Rock with him.  They’ve been conned again!  But this time, Witchita and and Little Rock don’t leave them to rot, and take them along.  Turns out Witchita and Little Rock are going to an amusement park in California they have heard is zombie-free, and Tallahassee and Columbus go along because Tallahassee has nothing better to do, and Columbus wants him some Emma Stone.  Who could blame him?

I don’t know that I would say this movie is universally awesome, but it may be the winner of the “Movie Made for Robert” award.  You can find that out right from the get-go, while the opening scene is the credits rolling over brutal zombie killings with “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica playing.  Later, when some Van Halen is playing, and later still, when Bill Murray shows up, you may be pretty sure that someone loved me so much they wanted to give me the gift of this movie.  And what a gift it was!

There’s a lot of great to this movie.  It’s very funny and full of gruesome zombie deaths.  I’m also a big fan of the on screen messages that pop up.  As Columbus’ rules pop up on screen, they can be interacted with and movie to some comic effect.  Also, I’m totally with Tallahassee at some point in this movie when he finds a Hostess truck but, much to his chagrin, it’s full of Snowballs.  I’m with you; Snowballs suck.  I’d actually prefer a truck of Cupcakes, but I’d take Twinkie’s too.

All of the very small cast was great.  Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin pissed me off for about the first half of the movie, but that was what they were supposed to do.  I wanted one of them to get punched in the mouth the second time they went to carjack Woody and Jesse.  I just realized that their names were the cowboys in Toy Story, the guy and the girl.  Just thought you should follow my thought process there.  The two girls are very self centered, which annoyed me but, when I think about it, that’s how you have to be in the zombie apocalypse.  The more people you get attached to, the more likely you are to meet a gruesome death.  Jesse plays a similar part to every roll I’ve ever seen the man in, but he plays it well.  And Woody Harrelson is a bona fide badass throughout the entire movie, but has a really touching moment when we realize that the puppy he’s been talking about losing since early in the movie was actually his son.  Also, watching him at the amusement park in the end of the movie is the most fun killing zombies, and the most fun watching zombies die, that has been captured on film to this day.

I had to really think about any negatives I could give to this movie, and the only one I had was at the very end.  That moment is when Columbus realizes he has to be a hero – deliberately going against one of his rules – in order to save Witchita and Little Rock from a zombie clown (having mentioned earlier in the movie that he fears clowns more than zombies).  The problem with this scene is that it’s a climax that’s very anticlimactic.  It should have been a battle that Columbus barely survives, but instead he sweeps the clown’s legs with a “Test Your Might” hammer, and then smashes his head with it.  It took all of 8 seconds.  Not enough of a negative to throw off my affection for the movie by a long shot, but a bit anticlimactic.

So, this movie is awesome.  You should own it.  Go do so.  I give it “Thanks for my movie, guys” out of 14.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.

Rio (2011)


Upon returning my last RedBox movies, I found 2 new movies I wanted to watch.  Both are computer animated movies about birds.  One I expected to be decent, the other I expect to be crap.  You’ll have to wait for the crap one, because I first decided to watch Rio, with the voices of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, and Leslie Mann.

Rio starts off in Rio de Janeiro, with overly adorable baby Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) watching a bunch of colorful birds singing and dancing, as birds are prone to do in Rio de Janeiro.  Then they all start disappearing as smugglers snatch all of them and put them into cages, grabbing baby Blu as well.  In the process of being driven through Minnesota, one cage falls out of the truck, this cage of course containing Blu.  Blu is found by young Linda (Leslie Mann) and taken in as her pet.  The movie jumps to many years later where Linda owns a book store and Blu gets to run around it freely (I say “run around” because Blu never learned how to fly).  One day an Ornithologist from Brazil sees Blu in the window and rushes in to speak to Linda about him.  He informs Linda that Blu may be the only male Macaw like him left in the world, and back in Brazil they have possibly the only female and they want Blu to knock her up.  Linda begrudgingly goes to Rio to pimp out her bird.  They leave Blu in a habitat with Jewel (Anne Hathaway) to try to get them to get freaky.  But Jewel does not take kindly to this here city bird and wants only to escape captivity.  While the Ornithologist and Linda go to enjoy Rio, smugglers break in to the bird habitat and steal all the birds, including Blu and Jewel.  They get … claw-cuffed … together, soon escape, and have to figure out how to free themselves of of their shackles with the help of the native animals, played by will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, and an English Bulldog played by Tracy Morgan, who finds out his puppy is gay and has it put down.  Okay, that part didn’t happen.

There’s some good and some bad to this movie.  To start off with the good: the animation is pretty spectacular, unlike earlier reviewed Alpha and Omega.  I love it when an animated movie is able to give the animals life and humor in the way they behave.  The animation is also very colorful, as I imagine Rio de Janeiro itself is.  The Bulldog, strangely, was the only animation problem I have, but I’ve had a bulldog for many years, and even though they are a lot of face and can occasionally have a slobbering problem, this movie overdid the slobbering and did not capitalize on the adorableness of the breed as well as they could.  But that’s probably a flaw you’d only notice if you had a bulldog.  As for the story, it’s a classic, cliche, but enjoyable type of a pet separated from his owner and trying to return to them.  Along the way, as should come as no great surprise, Blu and Jewel start crushing on each other, and the opposites attract idea is hardly a new one either, but it’s fine.  The movie is not what I’d call funny, though it does seem to attempt it often.  I think this is an animated movie that is more meant for kids and not quite up to the level of your usual Pixar movie that tends to be as enjoyable for kids as it is for adults, but most of it is enjoyable enough for both.

The biggest bad thing, for me, is something that happens about 4 or 5 times in this movie: Musical numbers.  I friggin hate musicals, with a vengeance.  I had to tolerate them so much in childhood, between getting dragged to plays often, and of course the early Disney musicals.  I don’t always hate the entire movie because it’s a musical, and I didn’t hate Rio because it was a musical, but the musical numbers slow the movie down and are not very good anyway.  They always seem so out of place.  I assume it’s somebody’s cup of tea, but I don’t want my movies to break into song for no reason.  Again, it only happens a few times, so it’s not that big of a deal, but I feel I would’ve enjoyed the movie much more if they had not gone that route.  Also, I was not entirely a fan of the voice acting.  For some reason, most of the cast didn’t click for me.  It wasn’t until Blu created Facebook that he finally came into his own.  I may see too many movies.  I get so confused.  They weren’t awful at it, they just didn’t do it for me for some reason.

All that being said, you probably won’t hate this movie.  I didn’t.  There were good parts of comedy, romance, action, … musical (shudder) … and a story you won’t hate sitting through with your kids, and probably not even by yourself.  I give Rio a “Solidly okay” out of “Wicked Pisser”.

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