The Lego Movie (2014)

The Lego Movie
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Writer: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Cast: Chris PrattElizabeth BanksMorgan FreemanLiam Neeson, Will ArnettNick Offerman, Alison BrieCobie Smulders, Jonah HillChanning Tatum, Will FerrellWill Forte, Charlie Day, Dave Franco, Jake Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal

Plot:
Emmet (Chris Pratt) is an ordinary lego worker, spending his days joyfully building things, though he is also a bit lonely. Everything changes though, when he sees Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), gets identified as the most extraordinary person and involved in the rebellion against Lord Business (Will Ferrell) whose main goal is to have everything in its place, chaos and with it diversity be damned.

The Lego Movie was a whole lot of fun, stitched together from references and meta jokes that nevertheless manage to form a coherent role with a rather surprising end, even if it sometimes runs a bit empty.
lego

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Re-Watch: Despicable Me (2010)

Despicable Me
Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Writer: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio
Cast: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, Jemaine Clement, Jack McBrayer, Danny McBride, Mindy Kaling, Ken Jeong
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Gru (Steve Carell) is a super-villain whose best days are past. When he hatches a plan to steal the moon with the help of a shrink ray, all that’s missing is the necessary cash for the operation. So he goes down to the Bank of Evil – and is denied credit. When Gru tries to follow through with his plan on his own, he is bested by Vector (Jason Segel), the nerdy new kid on the supervillain block. Since Gru is unable to recover the shrink ray, he makes a new plan: Vector has a weakness: cookies. So Gru adopts three little girls and sends them to his house to sell him some. But what Gru didn’t expect was that he’d start to like the little girls.

When I saw Despicable Me for the first time, I wasn’t very excited about it. Now that I re-watched it, I’m still not. Yes, it’s sweet and the minions are awesome, but it just feels so run of the mill that it doesn’t really get anywhere.despicable_me Continue reading

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (2009)

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Director: John Krasinski
Writer: John Krasinski
Based on: David Foster Wallace’s short stories
Cast: Julianne Nicholson, John Krasinski, Timothy Hutton, Chris Messina, Max Minghella, Dominic Cooper, Will Arnett, Christopher Meloni, Denis O’Hare, Josh Charles, Bobby Cannavale, Rashida Jones

Plot:
Sara (Julianne Nicholson) recently broke up with her boyfriend Ryan (John Krasinski). To cope with the ensuing funk she starts an interview project she wants to use for her dissertation where she interviews various men or records conversations she overhears. The subjects of these interviews are varied but mostly they revolve around sex.

I thought that the film’s set-up was a little weird, focusing away from the interviewee’s and on to the interviewer as it does. That just didn’t work that well for me. But the cast was good and most of the respective interviews very nicely done.

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Men in Black III (2012)

Men in Black III
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer: Etan Cohen
Based on: Lowell Cunningham‘s comic
Sequel to: Men in Black, Men in Black II
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bill Hader, Emma Thompson, Will Arnett, Michael Chernus, Alice Eve, David Rasche

Plot:
Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), one of the most dangerous criminals in the universe, manages to escape from Lunar prison, where he was sent by Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) many years ago. With his mind set on revenge, he finds a way to travel back in time to 1969, where he kills Agent K before he can arrest Boris. That is not only tragic on a personal level, but puts the entire earth in jeopardy. Fortunately, Agent J (Will Smith) somehow still remembers K and travels back in time, too, to save his then young partner (Josh Brolin).

I did not have very high hopes for this film, but it turns out that it is actually quite nice. While it is not quite as good as the first film, it has its heart in the right place, it’s entertaining and it manages to steer clear of the sexism that ruined the second one. I’d say that’s a win.

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Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)

Wristcutters: A Love Story is movie by Goran Dukic, based on a short story by Etgar Keret, starring Patrick Fugit, Shea Whigham, Shannyn Sossamon, Leslie Bibb, Abraham Benrubi, John Hawkes, Will Arnett and Tom Waits.

Plot:
After the break-up with his girlfriend Desiree (Leslie Bibb), Zia (Patrick Fugit) kills himself. But his death is not the end – instead he ends up in a kind of half-world afterlife, where all the suicides come together. His afterlife is dull, probably even duller than his actual life and not even his friendship with Eugene (Shea Whigham), a rather crazy Russian singer, can change that. But then Zia hears that Desiree committed suicide herself. Since that means, she has to be somewhere in the same afterlife, he convinces Eugene to go on a road trip to look for her. Along the way, they pick up Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon) who is looking for the People in Charge because they made a mistake with her.

Wristcutters is a movie that just floats along. It’s pleasant, it moves you, it’s nice, but it never makes you excited (apart from when Will Arnett shows up because he’s great). It’s a good watch, but I don’t think I’ll be thinking of it very often.

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Despicable Me (2010)

Despicable Me is Universal’s first animated feature. It was directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and stars the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett, Jemaine Clement and Jack McBrayer.

Plot:
Gru (Steve Carell) is a super-villain whose best days are past. When he hatches a plan to steal the moon with the help of a shrink ray, all that’s missing is the necessary cash for the operation. So he goes down to the Bank of Evil – and is denied credit. When Gru tries to follow through with his plan on his own, he is bested by Vector (Jason Segel), the nerdy new kid on the supervillain block. Since Gru is unable to recover the shrink ray, he makes a new plan: Vector has a weakness: cookies. So Gru adopts three little girls and sends them to his house to sell him some. But what Gru didn’t expect was that he’d start to like the little girls.

Despicable Me is sweet, but it’s nothing if not shallow. The characters are stock characters without any addition, the story is predictable and generally it lacks a bit of a spark of originality. Nevertheless, it’s nice.

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When in Rome (2010)

When in Rome is the newest movie by Mark Steven Johnson. [I guess after Daredevil and Ghost Rider, it was the only logical choice.] It stars Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel, Danny DeVito, Will Arnett, Anjelica Huston and Lee Pace.

Plot:
Beth (Kristen Bell) is successful, an up-and-coming curator at the Guggenheim Museum (an awesome job, btw). Of course that also means that she’s an emotional idiot, unable to have a relationship or even appreciate love. You know how it goes. Anyway, she flies to Rome to her sister’s wedding, where she meets the totally cute best man Nick (Josh Duhamel). But then Nick gets kissed by a mysterious plot device lady in red, Beth gets drunk and next thing you know, she’s in a fountain, stealing coins and enslaving men with their love to him (which she gets from the coins, OF COURSE).

When in Rome is actually pretty bad. But Kristen Bell is charming and it managed to wrangle some laughs from me so I guess that’s a yeah? Well, it might would have been if the genius responsible for the casting decided that out of Josh Duhamel and Lee Pace, Josh Duhamel would get the lead.

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Monsters vs Aliens (2009)

Monsters vs Aliens is the newest Dreamworks Animation movie, directed by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon and with the voices of  Reese Whitherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Stephen Colbert, Rainn Wilson, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler and Renée Zellweger.
Unfortunately I had to choose between seeing it in English or in 3D and I went for the 3D.

Plot:
On her wedding day, Susan (Reese Whiterspoon) gets hit by a meteor and suddenly starts growing until she’s as tall as a small scyscraper. The government intervenes and Susan gets taken to a secret facility where she lives with some other monsters – B.O.B., a kind of sentient (though not much sentient) jelly (Seth Rogen), Dr. Cockroach, a crazy scientist who turned himself into a man-sized cockroach (Hugh Laurie), The Missing Link, a creature between fish and man (Will Arnett) and Insectosaurus, an oversized caterpillar (and when I say oversized, I mean as big as a scyscraper).
Anyway, when a giant alien robot lands on the earth, it’s the monsters who are called upon for help.

I really liked Monsters vs Aliens. It was full to the brim with references for geeks (starting with dialogue like “CODE NIMOY! CODE NIMOY!” to “Once again, a UFO has landed in America, the only country UFOs ever seem to land in.” and referencing movies from The Day the Earth Stood Still to Close Encounters of the Third Kind). Plus, it’s probably the most feminist kids’ movie in a while. The story was a bit old though, but at least that insured that it worked.
The 3D was really good, but I thought that they could have made more “gags” – things really coming out of the screen etc.  [Yeah, I’m a sucker for the cheap thrills.]

monsters_vs_aliens

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