Incredibles 2 (2018)

Incredibles 2

Fighting crime is hard enough without having a baby to watch over.

It should come as very little surprise that it took fourteen years to bring the Parr family back to the big screen in Incredibles 2. Director and writer Brad Bird knew he had characters that are rivaled by few in the Disney Universe (not just Pixar), so he took his time. The result is a sequel that, while it does not live up to the original, still is passable as family fun for all ages.

The movie picks up right where we left off in the first film. The Parr family is chasing after the Underminer (Pixar voice man John Ratzenberger). After his escape, the family is under legal trouble again, and must go back into hiding. That all changes when they are approached by super hero enthusiast Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener). They tell of a plan of how Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) can wear hidden cameras to show the hero point of view, not the point of view from the politicians. The choice is eventually made that Elastigirl will be the best bet for the public since she destroys the least amount of property.

This leaves Bob alone with his kids as a stay at home dad (though Deavor has given them a new house with amazing features). This is the plot where the film adds the most laughs, as Bob is unaware at first of his kids’ individual problems. Dash (Huck Milner) needs help with homework (“Why would they change math?!”). Violet (Sarah Vowell) is upset because her crush from the first film Tony (Michael Bird, son of Brad Bird) had his memory erased of her and does not know who she is. Then of course, there is Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) who is discovering his new powers along with his family. It is so desperate that Bob even has to go to Edna (Brad Bird) for help (while in his monster form, Jack-Jack is also voiced by Nicholas Bird, the other son of Brad Bird).

Meanwhile, Elastigirl is on the hunt for a new villain named Screenslaver, who does have secrets of his own (I did guess at who the identity of the Screenslaver was, but I will still not reveal it). His powers are able technical in that he can entrance people on the TV screen. Eventually, this tech is transmitted to goggles.

There are other minor characters that don’t get as much screen time, but are fun to have around anyway. These are the super heroes who have also been in hiding, such as Voyd (Sophia Bush), Helectrix (Phil LaMarr), and others with their own unique powers.

Parents, the film may be the first time I have heard some swearing in a Disney/Pixar film (very minor ones like Hell and Crap). Aside from that, it is safe to say that any kid would be fine with this film if they saw the original.

The movie is fun, but far from the (pardon the pun) incredible first film. It does lack the originality and uniqueness from the first film, and does not nearly have as good a villain (though few can compare to Syndrome). Still, that should not stop you from having a great time with your family.

Though I would advise you to tell your kids that fighting a racoon may not be the best idea.

 

Overall: Three and a Half Stars ***1/2

 

Get Out (2017)

get-out

Daniel Kaluuya is Chris, the new boyfriend of Rose (Allison Williams) in Get Out.

Ok, seriously, what did I miss here?

As I am writing this review, Get Out has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Perhaps it is a good thing I am (as of now) not a paid movie critic, or it would not be at that perfect score.

Fifty years ago, a great movie called Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? was released with Spencer Tracy (his last film), Katharine Hepburn, and Sidney Poiter. That movie was about a woman who brings her fiance (Poiter) to meet her parents (Hepburn and Tracy). Throw in horror, cheesy chords of music, and some unreal acting, and you have Get Out.

The people in the movie are talented, indeed. You have Daniel Kaluuya as a photographer named Chris, who is dating Rose (Allison Williams). One weekend, she brings him to meet her parents out in the country. They are Missy and Dean (played, respectively, by Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford). There is also her brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), who is creepy, and not, I am afraid, in a good way.

The movie did not scare me at all (save for one moment where it was a “gotcha” moment followed by a high music chord). The movie did, however, make me laugh a lot. This is mainly attributed to Chris’s best friend Rod (Lil Rey Howery). His timing and delivery are perfect, and it is him who had me interested as long as he was on-screen.

The other actors are good (I have always been a fan of Catherine Keener), but it is the party scene that ruined the movie for me. No one in their right mind acts the way Rose’s extended family does. I can’t say why the characters act the way they do without spoiling the movie, except to say that, when you find out the twist, you realize it could not have been anything else.

Parents, it is a hard R rating (no nudity or sex, just a lot of swearing and blood/gore). 17 and above.

It is true that many movies need more than one viewing to potentially appreciate it more. However, after seeing Get Out once, I don’t plan on seeing it again anytime soon.

Seriously, the title screen alone should serve as a warning.

 

Overall: Two Stars

Into the Wild (2007)

Into the Wild

Emile Hirsch goes “Into the Wild”

It takes me a while to finally get in the mood to see a movie sometimes, mainly when someone ruins it for me. Such is the case with Into the Wild.

Spoilers, as I will not be able to review the film without mentioning really what happens. The movie (based off of the book of the same name) tells the story of a real life student and athlete named Chris McCandless (played wonderfully by Emile Hirsch). After graduating from Emory University and endless doors opened for his future, he decides to leave it all behind and venture towards Alaska into the wild. The more the film talks about him, the more we realize that he is not likely to survive (he does not).

We hear the story mainly narrated by his sister Carine (Jena Malone), who was the only real person he could connect to growing up. We learn of the past his parents (William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden) have tried to hide from them, and how they made much of his life growing up miserable.

The movie has many characters to introduce us to (as well as Chris). There are two hippies, Rainey (Brian Dierker) and Jan (the irreplaceable Catherine Keener), Wayne (a rare dramatic role for Vince Vaughn, and done rather well), Kristen Stewart as Tracy, a young singer who catches Chris’s eye, and, most heartbreaking of all, Hal Holbrook as Ron (which gained Holbrook an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actor). Their last scene is as moving as any well acted scene I can remember. The movie also stars Zach Galifianakis, but I admit I was so involved I did not even notice him (this was before The Hangover made him a star).

The characters that did not add to the film, I feel, were Mads (Thure Lindhardt) and Sonja (Signe Egholm Olsen). We meet them while Chris is traveling the Colorado River. He is there for a bit, but has to leave because the authorities are after him (he is traveling the river without a license).

The movie is directed by acting icon Sean Penn (who also did the screenplay), who adds more than just his acting advice (all the actors had to have been influenced by him because all are on their A game here). He seems to remind us of the beauty of nature without having to add to it (no camera trickery is used).

Parents, the movie is not for kids, as there is a good amount of swearing and some nudity (which I don’t think was really needed at all). I would say the most mature of High Schoolers and above are ok with it).

Looking up some information online, I realized a lot of people have become fans of Chris McCandless (some, sadly, have even died trying to find the place where he lost his life). I am not an outdoors person myself that much, but I would be interested to go. I, too, would not only want to see what Chris did, but feel I need to see it as well.

Overall: Four Stars ****