Theater Roundup: Zootopia, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, 10 Cloverfield Lane, and Brothers Grimsby

March dinobone header

Again, I’ve been too busy to write full reviews as of late, but I’ve seen two weekends worth of new movies, so I should get my thoughts out now before it becomes three weekends, or eventually I’ll just be posting once a month with eight movies in each post…  So here we go!

 

zootopia

ZOOTOPIA

Describe the movie like your grandma does on a phone call:  I saw this movie that I think you’ll love, sweetheart.  It was so cute.  It was called, uh…  Ummmm…  It was a cartoon, with a bunch of animals, and they um, have their own city.  The rabbit was so cute.  It, uh, was called…  Ohhh jeez, I can’t think about what the name of it was.  It had a fox.

What’s to like about this?  It’s basically an endless parade of mostly great animal puns and very impressive visual gags.  There were some jokes where I wish I could have paused the movie and absorbed everything, because there were so many good jokes on the screen all at once.  The animation is amazing, the buddy cop concept is solid, and the comedy is good for all ages (I assume).  I’ve now seen that entire sloth DMV scene about four times (since it was also one of the trailers), and I still laugh at it every single time.  That scene deserves four Academy Awards.

Yeah, but what didn’t you like about it?  I guess it lacks the concentrated animated sadness that Pixar has spoiled us on.  There’s not really anything emotional in it; it’s more just a fun action comedy.  Also, if I wanted to be one of those film critics, I could write a thousand words on how Zootopia failed to properly address race relations to the children who went to go see it.  To them I say: I don’t think this was supposed to be Zootopian History X.  Lighten up, Chet.

Who do you recommend this to?  Furries.  Also, probably kids.

Grade:  B+

 

whiskey tango foxtrot

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT (WTF, get it?)

Describe the movie like your grandma does on a phone call:  Oh did you see that movie, um, that one movie?  What was it called…?  It has the girl from that show…  You know, that one show, with the comedy.  Ummm, she has the glasses, it was on late.  Ohhh ummm…  Saturday Live!  She used to do the news.  She was in this movie.  It was called, um, uhhhhh…  It had a weird name I didn’t understand.  It was uhhh, like, uhhhhmmmm.  You know what I’m talking about, right?

What’s to like about this?  It’s interesting.  (stares at you for ten seconds) (coughs into hand)  That’s about the best way to put it.  It’s a very interesting story of a woman (played by Tina Fey, grandma) who didn’t really feel like she had anything going on in her life, so she threw all her eggs into a crazy basket (being a reporter in the Middle East) and it gave her some sort of false sense of meaning for a while.  I think we can all relate to that to some degree at some point in our lives (probably on a much smaller scale).  There’s obviously something appealing about living in a dangerous place and partying all the time when you have a previously boring, somewhat lonely life.  And then you discover what you really want from yourself through that process of self-destruction.  That’s the theme of the movie, and probably the best thing about it.  Also, it has a decent mix of funny and somber moments.

Yeah, but what didn’t you like about it?  Felt like it went on too long.  It has kind of an aimless second act that was probably intentionally aimless.  It’s not going to make anyone’s top ten list at the end of the year, if they remember it at all nine months from now.

Who do you recommend this to?  I would not recommend it to anyone who thinks it will just be a comedy.  It’s not really a laugh a minute.  Probably more of a Redbox/Netflix watch than a theater trip for most people.

Grade:  C+

 

10 Cloverfield Lane

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

Describe the movie like your grandma does on a phone call:  I saw this movie over the weekend with Estelle.  You know Estelle, right?  She’s my friend from when I used to live in Marburry, Ohio.  But she recently moved here again.  You used to play in her apartment when you were a baby.  Do you remember that?  You used to love playing with her nutcracker collection.  Anyway, we saw this movie and we did NOT know what it was.  It had um, what’s his face…?  He was on that sitcom with that obnoxious woman.  She yelled a lot.  He was scary in this movie.  But it was a very confusing movie.  It was called, ummm, uhhhh…  What was it called?  It had a number in the title.  Fifteen something.  It was, a ummm, it was in a, ummmm one of those underground things.  Yes!  A bunker!   You know which one I’m talking about.  Very loud.

What’s to like about this?  It’s awesome.  It’s very suspenseful.  I think it might be some of John Goodman’s best work outside of a Coen Bros movie.  It’s just kind of…  fun.  There’s some good twists and surprising moments, and I don’t really even want to talk about it that much, because it’s way more thrilling to go into this movie without really knowing much of anything about it.  This has one of my favorite trailers of the year, as well, for sure.  I also saw it on the “Ultrascreen” for the first time ever, which I guess is Marcus Theaters’ version of IMAX, and the sound system was so loud that it literally shook my seat, and in several occasions made my ears pop.  It was great.  One last thing that should definitely be mentioned: It’s not a found footage movie, and it’s more of a spiritual sequel/prequel to Cloverfield than it is something you need to even relate to it.  It looks so much more well made than Cloverfield was, and cost $10 million less to make than the first one, too.

Yeah, but what didn’t you like about it?  There’s not much I didn’t like.  Again, I guess it didn’t really need the Cloverfield tie-in, other than for marketing purposes.  They could have reworked the ending to be numerous different scenarios, and all of the great stuff in the bunker still would have worked.  The screenplay was originally intended to be an unrelated low-budget movie called “The Cellar,” and then it got turned into a Cloverfield movie when JJ Abrams got his hands on it.  FYI.

Who do you recommend this to?  In my last review post, I praised The Witch while simultaneously declaring that no one should go see it on my recommendation, because you probably won’t like it.  Contrary to that, I’m praising 10 Cloverfield Lane and *also* telling you to go see it, because it’s fun and more universally watchable than a slow-moving artsy 1700’s period piece kind of about a witch.  But yeah, 10 Cloverfield Lane is very good, in my opinion.  And if you go see it, you’ll probably enjoy it, or at least be entertained by it, even if I assume you won’t give it as high of a score as I’m about to right now.  But that’s just what I thought about it, so…  …sorry we disagree?  I guess?

Grade:  A-

 

brothers grimsby

THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY

Describe the movie like your grandma does on a phone call:  Your cousin Patrick visited me last week.  On Tuesday.  Or was it Wednesday?  No, it must have been Tuesday, because I remember we had roast beef.  He took me to see this movie he wanted to see.  It was an English movie, it was very vulgar.  I wanted to leave.  I did not like it.

What’s to like about this?  Looking back, I do recall chuckling out loud a few times.  However, I could not tell you what those moments were.  I could tell you in detail about the elephant sex scene (which I don’t think I laughed at because it was a little too… I don’t know, desperate?).  That scene is probably burned into my brain.  But I don’t think I remember a specific other moment that I found to be genuinely funny.  I think the movie worked best when it was trying to be a regular spy movie, but then this dimwitted guy in sandals is running nonchalantly twenty paces behind the action.  But even so it’s still nothing more than a producer of quiet chuckles.  It is only 80-ish minutes long, thank god.  That was very nice of them.  Wait, I just remembered something!  The scene where Sasha Baron Cohen finds out the joys of shooting guns was legitimately funny.  That was probably the best scene in the movie.

Yeah, but what didn’t you like about it?  Listen, I’m into low-brow humor.  I am.  Really, I am.  But there’s clever low-brow (Idiocracy, Step Brothers, Borat, etc), and there’s dumb low-brow.  This was the latter.  Like I’m not against having a scrotum prosthetic in a comedy, but I want to laugh it that scrotum doing something; and not just be expected to laugh because it’s a scrotum prosthetic.  Make sense?  No?  Well, I’m moving on anyway.

Who do you recommend this to?  People who like stupid comedies?  I don’t know.  It was definitely funnier than the last few things I’ve seen Adam Sandler do, if that counts for anything.

Grade:  D

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2 thoughts on “Theater Roundup: Zootopia, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, 10 Cloverfield Lane, and Brothers Grimsby

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