“Sing” is a lot like many of the other movies from Illumination Studios. It’s basically a moving greeting card. It’s cute for a few minutes, and then you’ll eventually find yourself tucking it away and looking for something more stimulating. As per most of the films from Illumination, “Sing” is just a middle of the road film that barely gets by because of the neat animation. “Sing” is cute. And that’s about it. It’s cute. And it packs a humongous soundtrack filled with pop songs both old and new that are meant to basically distract from the fact that it’s a very barebones animated movie with a paper thin narrative, that does little to convey to its audience something more meaningful.
This trend of comedies involving multi-generations where younger actors and or comedians team up with older actors and or comedians has worn thin. Seth Rogen and Barbara Streisand, Zac Efron and Robert DeNiro, I get it, it’s not funny. “Snatched” is another in a line of this growing sub-genre, where we spend ninety minutes noting how old one character is and how young the other is. Will they ever get along? Will they reach a firm understanding and common ground? Of course they’ll learn to love one another by the time the movie ends, and there will be some kind of self-sacrifice, and we’ll probably get a sequel. This time around it’s Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, both of whom have zero chemistry. They have so little chemistry it’s unpleasant. Their chemistry and lack thereof derives no laughs in what is a joyless sitcom that transforms in to a dark comedy about kidnapping, torture, xenophobia, third world countries, and human trafficking.
Whether we like it or not, summer is right around the corner, and Mill Creek Entertainment is helping movie lover ring in the season with a marathon of ten great beach and summer movies. Well, great is a broad term, as most of these movies are goofy eighties nonsense and action schlock you can enjoy with some beers and nachos. At fifteen hours, this collection is compiled in to three DVD’s and packs in some new titles along with Mill Creek’s more prominent comedy titles.
Written and directed by Laura Lee Bahr, this film has a little bit of everything. The characters she creates here feel like maybe exaggerated versions of real people one would meet in Hollywood, people looking for their shining moment, their 15 minutes of fame. They sometimes feel like exaggerated versions or stereotypes, but most of the time, they feel like actual people. The film takes these people and puts them in crazy situations where they have no options but to do things most people wouldn’t even think of doing. At the same time, outside of the dognapping and a few other events, the film is filled with regular, normal moments which anchor the story in reality and create a counter-balance the WTF moments. Laura Lee Bahr weaves a story that should not make any sense (a dominatrix, goth kids, dog sitters, botox parties, …) yet it does. She manages to take a few crazy ideas along with some odd characters and makes them entertaining and engaging.
After years of just being available on DVD and Blu-Ray in other countries and regions, Shout Factory comes to the rescue to deliver fans a deluxe edition of one of the most underrated action films ever made. Something of a spiritual sequel to Walter Hill’s “The Warriors,” director Hill sets his latest gang land picture in an undisclosed period between the 20’s and 40’s in what is apparently New York. Sadly, Hill intended the film to be the first of a trilogy, but while we never got that wish, “Streets of Fire” still manages to be a single adventure rich in character and pulp appeal. Starring the incredible beautiful Diane Lane, and the fantastic Michael Pare, “Streets of Fire” is a rock and roll musical, romance, gangster, action, adventure. It has everything for mostly everyone and it gets better with every viewing.
For fans that missed it the first time, Mill Creek Entertainment re-releases their stellar home version of “Gone in 60 Seconds” but now with a Digital Copy for buyers. Mill Creek is finally entering the digital arena for folks that bypass physical copies, and it’s a wise investment. The new release garners a restored and remastered version of the 1974 action film, and it’s a neat addition to the sub-genre of car based action films. “Gone in 60 Seconds” takes its premise and doles out a very solid and exciting action film with a slew of mesmerizing car chase sequences that are far more engrossing than the painfully inferior remake from 2000.
At this point you know what you’re getting with the “Fast and the Furious” movie series, but they also seem to be thinking of new ways to get ridiculous. While you can’t really expect realism with these movies (seriously, gravity does not exist in this world), “Fate of the Furious” reaches new heights of absurdity that it becomes comical; and not the good kind of comical, either. Where James Bond had “Die Another Day” where he surfed a tsunami on a plane door and parachute, “The Fate of the Furious” has its own “jump the shark” moment. But this one involves a missile chasing a car, and Dwayne Johnson merely leaning out of a high speed car and pushing the missile away with his hand, allowing it to divert in to the car of a bad guy. It’s that point where I realized that it’s about time for the series to come to an end.
Jean-François Richet’s “Blood Father” is supposed to be considered Mel Gibson’s cinematic comeback as the action hero we all knew and love before… you know. “Blood Father” is one in the many growing titles of fifty something men displaying vigilante justice, and Gibson plays well to type. He’s that crusty fifty something man who often resembles Martin Riggs if Riggs became a convict, and attempted to spend his life redeeming himself or something. Gibson plays Link, an ex-convict working hard to live out the rest of his life as quietly as possible. But things don’t go as planned when his estranged daughter, who is involved with a vicious gangster, shows up at his door begging for shelter. But when her boyfriend is convinced she knows too much, he goes looking for her.