When I was a kid, I loved watching reruns of the old Addams Family TV show. They made me laugh and I liked the spooky factor. As an adult, I cannot watch reruns of that show. They are terrible. And not terrible in the way of watching them through a 2021 prism, but objectively bad. And that’s not just my own opinion. The show was cancelled after just two seasons (though they still managed an astounding 64 episodes) because pretty much everyone thought it was bad. Unfortunately, the schlock that people quickly grew tired of was carried into the film remakes in the 1990s, then again in the animated remakes of the last couple years. Watching this latest entry in the franchise with my wife and son reminded me that the jokes just are not funny and that even kids tire quickly of the nonsense. But don’t take my word for it, take my son’s word for it.
How much of the first Addams Family do you remember?
Uhhhhh…..naaaaaah….well, some? I remember that Wednesday started school. In junior high.
Is there anything from the first movie that you think you need to know for the sequel?
[Stares straight ahead] Naaaaaah.
What were you hoping to see in the sequel?
Creepier stuff. Like mystery. Like [sing the X-files theme]
After watching Addams Family 2, did it meet your expectations for creepy?
[Giggles. Shakes head]
How would you describe Addams Family 2, if not creepy and mysterious?
Well, it wasn’t like people screamed when they saw them. It seems like they screamed a lot when they saw the family…but only a few people actually screamed.
What was the main plot?
They go on a road trip and they’re trying to avoid having this lawyer trying to get Wednesday back to her original family.
Do you know what a subplot is?
Like a minor plot or other stories. Are there any other plots going on?
I don’t think so.
Are there any other Addams family members on the road trip with them?
I don’t know the name….like, the gramma. And she hosts parties for….two weeks? No, three weeks.
Okay so Gramma is not on the road trip, who IS on the road trip?
Who is everyone else?
Pugsley, Wednesday, Gomez Addams, Tish Addams, lurch, Wednesday…oh, I already said that. Wasn’t there one more?
[holds up 3 fingers]
There’s 3 more?! [facepalm] Oh! It was Uncle Fester! And then I don’t remember his name, the hairy guy.
One more?! Oh! Thing!
So where did the family go on the road trip?
Did they visit anywhere spooky?
Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Sleepy Hollow.
What was your favorite part of the road trip?
Well, they went to that guy’s house in California. The guy that tried to steal Wednesday.
But what was your favorite part of the road trip?
When Pugsley blew up the Grand Canyon.
Why was that your favorite part?
Because I like explosions.
Would you say the movie was more funny than anything else?
What part of the road trip do you think was the most boring part?
Let me put it this way, which part did you like the least?
When they went to Sleepy Hollow.
Because they just talked about….oh! the lion is also there!….They just sat around, telling stories.
If you could take a part out of the movie, what part or thing would it be? That you didn’t think needed to be there?
I feel like they didn’t need to do the Texas – oh! They went to Texas! And saw those motorcycle guys and they were at a bar, and Lurch was there too with Wednesday.
If you could add something to the movie, what would you add?
A few more places that they went.
Name one. Like, where would you make them go?
They could see the Great Lakes.
How would that fit in with the Addams Family?
[snarky and sassy] They went to NIAGARA FALLS, dad.
Is there anything spooky about the Great Lakes?
They’re huge…and with fresh water.
Would you make something be IN the lakes, like something spooky?
[whispers] Uncle Fester.
Why would he be in the lakes?
Because he’s a weird uncle and tries to be funny and….[trails off]
Who is your favorite character?
Pugsley. …NO! No no non onononono LURCH! [sighs]
I can’t think of any more questions.
[Mom from the other side of the room] Because it was a boring-ass movie.
Would you watch it again?
Rating: If people go to the theater to see it, how much money should they ask for back?
I think they want back 2 dollars. I think the movie could have been a little better. Because there were no mysteries, no really spooky things. No [sings X-Files theme song]
It’s pretty clear by now that the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is essentially toast. Or, it’s a giant mess of barely connected movies that nobody has bothered to plan out, but really, it’s both. And that is how we got a sequel to Suicide Squad that is actually a remake, but, no just kidding, it’s actually a reboot. See what I mean? Just know that adding the word “the” to the title took six people working twelve hours a day for two weeks.
Perhaps the funniest question I got when friends asked me about The Suicide Squad was is it better than the first Suicide Squad? There are two ways to answer that question. One is, does a bear shit in the woods? The other, and the one I went with is, if I say yes, it doesn’t really tell you if it was any good; the first one was atrocious. Then, they nod and we start the conversation over with a better question. What did I think of The Suicide Squad?
(Mild SPOILERS ahead, or B-Spoilers if you will.)
The best way to describe The Suicide Squad is it is basically the movie that would have happened had Deadpool’s X-Force (from Deadpool 2) survived their skydive and had a full movie. Another way is do you remember Mystery Men? Yet a third way is that it is the most expensive B-movie ever made. What all three of those have in common is that the movie is a violent-gore fest that doesn’t take itself seriously and is finally in on its own joke.
For starters, The Suicide Squad is rated-R. Like Deadpool, this is the only way this kind of movie works. The protagonists are a bunch of violent criminals asked to go on a mission with an extremely high chance of death. Of course they are going to curse and violently kill their opponents. The first Suicide Squad was PG-13, which isn’t one of the top five reasons that movie sucked, but did help it suck more. The R-rating also allowed for a much wider range of jokes and allowed certain actors to really spread their wings. Did you ever wonder what it would look like if Idris Elba yelled at a teenage girl “fuck you” and that same girl yelled “fuck you” back at him through the clear plexiglass of a prison phone/visitor room? And, that girl is playing his daughter? Yeah, I laughed my ass off during that scene, mostly because it was Idris Elba.
Then, there is John Cena. Like Dwayne Johnson, Cena is really coming into his own as a comedic action star. Cena plays a character called Peacemaker, who “will kill as many people as it takes for peace.” Sound like any country you know? And you thought this movie wouldn’t have any political commentary. Anyway, Cena does a fantastic job delivering a character who the audience is simultaneously disgusted and entertained by. If he’s not standing in the middle of a jungle in tighty-whities, he’s noting that a starfish is a slang term for a butthole and wondering if that is relevant to their mission. And, naturally, he also delivers spectacularly in the fight/action scenes.
(Side note: Margot Robbie and Idris Elba were also their typical, exceptional selves. Incidentally, this made it hard not to notice that Joel Kinnaman is not good and Viola Davis has no idea what to do with her character due to how poorly her Amanda Waller is written.)
It was also great to see this movie poke its predecessor right in the eyes by immediately doing what the first movie should have – kill a bunch of C-level villains. Yeah, that means you Boomerang. The Suicide Squad starts off by introducing us to a planeload of villains that would fit right in with all of the B-villains listed off at the beginning of The Lego Batman Movie. Boomerang, Weasel, TDK, Mongal, Blackguard, Javelin, and Savant. Yes, those are really all their names and yes, they are the diversion for the real team when the movie starts. This scene perfectly captures the essence of the film with a bunch of grisly killings accompanied by hilarious jokes making light of those killings. You will laugh and cringe and breathe out a sigh of relief that this isn’t another dead-serious DC movie that is only trying to satisfy itself.
All of this wouldn’t have been possible without James Gunn, the director who came to prominence by delivering a ridiculously entertaining Guardians of the Galaxy. With The Suicide Squad, Gunn was able to let everything breathe. Actors, language, jokes, blood, action, and more blood. Lots of blood. Buckets and buckets of blood. Between all of the bloody deaths and exploding body parts, Gunn made up for the entire MCU’s bloodless body count. Combined with a gigantic alien starfish destroying a city, Gunn made a B-movie with A-movie money. And it was glorious. That’s not to say that the movie isn’t without some pretty glaring plot holes and head-scratching creative ideas (like when a bunch of flowers start showing up during a Harley Quinn action sequence despite there being no setup for said flowers), but, like Guardians of the Galaxy, the film is so over-the-top enjoyable that you can easily forgive those choices. Despite the film doing nothing to bring any kind of coherence to a greater DCEU (and it wasn’t trying to), it is easily the best DCEU to date. While that doesn’t say much compared to the rest of the DCEU, it finally is saying something.
Rating: Do not ask for any money back. Yeah, I’m surprised too.
In the sequel to DreamWorks Animation’s Oscar®-nominated blockbuster comedy, the Templeton brothers—Tim (James Marsden, X-Men franchise) and his Boss Baby little bro Ted (Alec Baldwin)—have become adults and drifted away from each other. Tim is now a married stay-at-home dad. Ted is a hedge fund CEO. But a new boss baby with a cutting-edge approach and a can-do attitude is about to bring them together again … and inspire a new family business.
Tim and his wife, Carol (Eva Longoria), the breadwinner of the family, live in the suburbs with their super-smart 7-year-old daughter Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt, Avengers: Infinity War), and adorable new infant Tina (Amy Sedaris, Netflix’s BoJack Horseman). Tabitha, who’s at the top her class at the prestigious Acorn Center for Advanced Childhood, idolizes her Uncle Ted and wants to become like him, but Tim, still in touch with his overactive youthful imagination, worries that she’s working too hard and is missing out on a normal childhood.
When baby Tina reveals that she’s—ta-da!—a top secret agent for Baby Corp. on a mission to uncover the dark secrets behind Tabitha’s school and its mysterious founder, Dr. Erwin Armstrong (Jeff Goldblum), it will reunite the Templeton brothers in unexpected ways, lead them to re-evaluate the meaning of family and discover what truly matters.
Lisa Kudrow and Jimmy Kimmel also reprise their roles as Ted and Tim’s parents.
Building on the success of the first film, which earned more than $500 million worldwide, The Boss Baby: Family Business is directed by returning filmmaker Tom McGrath and is produced by Jeff Hermann (Kung Fu Panda 3).
Genre: Animated Comedy Cast: Alec Baldwin, Jeff Goldblum, Ariana Greenblatt, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Eva Longoria, James Marsden, Amy Sedaris Director: Tom McGrath Producer: Jeff Hermann
Since I did not write a full review of A Quiet Place, just noted it as arguably the best movie of 2018 in my year-end review, it is worth spending a little time here to talk about it before getting into Part II. A lot of horror movies are cheap, barely coherent films aimed solely at getting a couple of jumps or screams out of the audience. If they do that, they win. That cheap part is key, just look at The Purge series. Each of the four movies (with a fifth coming out soon) cost between $3-$13 million to make and each pulled in around $100 million at the box office despite the movies featuring almost no actors you have ever heard of and writing that, at best, can be described as words on paper.
(SPOILERS for the first film. If you haven’t seen it yet, go now, and be quick about it.)
A Quiet Place differed in three key aspects. The first is that it featured two well-known actors, Emily Blunt and John Krasinski. The second is that it was a well-written screenplay with an exceptional attention to detail (one of the writers was Krasinski, who also directed). The third is that it had a larger budget, though still inexpensive as movies go, at $17-$21 million. All three of those things as a group were crucial to the success of the film. While a larger budget for a horror flick is a great thing (they were able to hire Industrial Light & Magic for the creatures, rather than hope a couple of kids with MacBooks could do it for a couple thousand dollars and some lollipops), the key was two exceptionally good actors and that meticulously written screenplay.
The acting was notable in that the entire cast was six people, two of whom are barely in the film. Essentially, it was Krasinski and Blunt with a couple of kids (both of whom were also quite good) and a script asking them to deliver a convincing performance with virtually no spoken lines. Since the creatures in the film can hear the smallest of noises, the family has to do everything as silently as possible. This is where the amazing screenplay comes into play. In order to convince the viewer of the danger posed to the family (and all surviving people) and how they were able to survive for so long, we have to see and not hear everything they do. From their sign language, to the trails of sand they walk on in bare feet, to the sound-proofed basement, to the lights used for signaling, to the sheer terror and desperation in the actors’ eyes, face, and bodies whenever so much as a mouse farts, everything in the sets, acting, and production design conveys a singular purpose – shhhhhhh.
The entire film is done so exquisitely that the audience unconsciously becomes part of the film, not daring to make a sound lest we become the next victim or betray the family’s position. When Lee (Krasinski) hears that toy space shuttle break the silence in the opening scene, the terror in his eyes is palpable and we clench in anticipation of what he is so afraid of. While most horror flicks hope for a couple of scenes of great tension, A Quiet Place succeeded in creating an entire film of great tension. It isn’t until the film is over that you realize your fingers are two knuckles deep into the armrests.
A Quiet Place is also the kind of movie that makes you dread a sequel. For one thing, you are worried that you cannot handle that level of tension for another two solid hours. For another thing, trying to recapture the magic of a movie like this is almost always a fool’s errand. This time, the audience knows what is out there. This time, the audience knows the family has a way to fight back against the monsters. And when it comes to monster movies, sequels almost always try to double-down on the monsters. Super-hearing in the first film? How about we give them the power of flight in the second film? Also, they are twice as big. Oh, and they can breathe under water. If not this movie, then they can when this becomes a trilogy.
This is where a great talent like John Krasinski comes in handy. For the sequel, he is the sole credited writer, directs again, and is even in a prologue scene depicting the first day the creatures attack. While this first scene is a fun nod to the audience who all wanted to know where the creatures came from, the rest of the movie is shown the same amount of care and meticulousness as the first film. And if you were worried about the sequel curse, Part II isn’t a traditional sequel that happens sometime in the future, often with different characters. Once that prologue scene is over, the film cuts to where we left Evelyn (Blunt) and her kids at the end of the first film. And I do mean the exact moment we left Evelyn, standing there with a shotgun.
With Lee gone, Evelyn and her three kids (including their newborn infant) set off to find a new place to survive. They soon come across an abandoned factory and have to run for their lives when Evelyn trips a tripwire and Marcus steps in a bear trap. Quickly, daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) sets up their one defense against the creatures (a speaker and her hearing aid, which make a screeching noise). Watching this occur from within the factory is Emmett (Cillian Murphy), a friend of the family, and fellow survivor who lost his family to the creatures. Seeing them kill one of the creatures, Emmett dashes out to help them and we are treated to another harrowing scene in which the humans use a combination of luck and environment to survive the attack. And like with the entire first movie, your hands are knuckle-deep in your seat.
While recovering from the bear trap, Marcus comes across a radio station playing music on a radio in Emmett’s hideout. Regan concludes that the music is a message to survivors and decides that she is going to locate the source of the music, taking off on her own without Evelyn’s or Emmett’s knowledge. The rest of the film plays out this plot and continues on like the previous film and this film – very little spoken dialogue and an intensity that rarely dips below nine. Emmett goes after Regan and they must survive multiple encounters. Evelyn and Marcus must survive more encounters. A couple of new human characters are discovered and more encounters must be survived. And every bit of it as intense as the last film and none of it feels rote or less urgent.
Have I mentioned that this film was really good? It was really good. It is one of the few sequels that manages to be as good as its predecessor and shows that sequels don’t have to escalate from the first film to be good. It also helps that Part II got a massive boost in production funds ($61 million), kept its cast small, and featured two very good actors carrying the film. It is the perfect film to usher us back into theaters, especially since the audience unconsciously stays as quiet as possible. Because you never know what might hear you.
Rating: Do not ask for any money back and apologize for poking holes in the seats.
I’m struggling, friends. On one hand, I asked for big, dumb blockbusters to come back. On the other hand, not like this. You don’t need me to tell you that Mortal Kombat is a shit movie catering to the dumbest common denominator. That was a given; it’s right there in the title. Combat is spelled with a C. Spelling it with a K is a 60 point I.Q. reduction.
And for the record, my generation is the target audience. I was thirteen years old when the original game hit arcades and it was awesome for one reason – all the blood. Finish him! Rip his spine out! Look at the fountain of blood spew from his neck! Give me another quarter! That’s not a movie, that’s an adolescent who hasn’t found his dad’s Playboys yet.
Therein lies the fatal flaw in remaking this movie in 2021. The original movie was successful back in 1995 because we were still just sixteen years old, games still hadn’t embraced the blood and gore like Mortal Kombat, and skinny kids playing video games weren’t exactly fighting off all the ladies. Now, we’re in our early forties, blood and gore in video games stopped being impressive two decades ago, and we have families now, so you know we finally put down the joystick, if you know what I mean.
Don’t get me wrong, this movie has plenty of other flaws. Once you get past the discussion of “who is this even for?” you get to the discussion of how nearly every movie adapted from a video game has been hot garbage. And nowhere is that more true than for games that are nothing more than one-on-one fights. Yes, that original game had what can technically be referred to as a plot, but, no it really didn’t. The movie takes that plot and gives it all the fleshing it out it rightly deserves, which is to say none whatsoever.
There is a tournament that many of the humans don’t know exists, but they are a part of, and they have to fight against monsters from another realm in order to prevent a wizard from taking over Earth. Is that a bad thing? Don’t know. Why are certain people chosen? Random reasons. Are there other realms? Maybe in the next movie. Are any of the characters developed beyond their single magical power that is featured in the video game? LOL.
Once you get past the, ahem, plot, you notice that the movie is just a series of lurches between surprisingly dull fight scenes and really, really bad acting. The original movie at least crammed itself into a tournament format and didn’t take itself seriously. It knew it was a based on a video game and leaned into that. This new version thinks it is a real boy. The opening scene features a family in rustic, 17th century Japan getting murdered by an evil ninja with ice powers (Sub-Zero), with just an infant surviving in hiding. Four hundred years later, we meet Cole Young, descendant of the family and MMA whipping boy. He is just trying to eke out a living and support his wife and daughter when Sub-Zero comes back to finish the job. Next thing we know, there are fighters everywhere, a training montage, words about prophecies and tournaments, and poorly filmed and choreographed fight scenes featuring absurd finishing moves that somehow manage to not know they are absurd. You had one job, movie.
Considering we just got Godzilla vs. Kong, the awfulness of Mortal Kombat stands out even more. Godzilla vs. Kong knows exactly what it is and delivers – giant lizard punches giant ape. It too has some really stupid story trying to rationalize why they are fighting, but the fights themselves are excellent to watch and make you forget the things said five minutes earlier. Mortal Kombat’s fights are like watching a puppy die, but if the puppy’s head is cut off and bowels ripped out. And just to add insult to injury, the special effects during the fight scenes are terrible. Seriously movie, you had one job.
Like I said, I asked for this. Not specifically this – I still have standards. Just because new movies are being released in a slow trickle doesn’t mean I still won’t skewer sewage posing as film. The good news is Mortal Kombat is another HBO Max movie, so rather than waste two hours watching the film, you’re better off picking up your joystick. If you know what I mean.
Rating: Ask for all of your money back and kiss your family, especially if you made them sit through the movie with you.
Enter to win an admit-two pass to see an advance screening of FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW on Tuesday, July 30 at 7:00pm in Denver! Entry (CLICK HERE) Deadline is Sunday, July 28 and winners will be notified via email on Monday, July 29.
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FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW – IN THEATERS AUGUST 2www.hobbsandshaw.com | @HobbsandShaw | #HobbsandShaw
After eight films that have amassed almost $5 billion worldwide, the Fast & Furious franchise now features its first stand-alone vehicle as Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham reprise their roles as Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
Ever since hulking lawman Hobbs (Johnson), a loyal agent of America’s Diplomatic Security Service, and lawless outcast Shaw (Statham), a former British military elite operative, first faced off in 2015’s Furious 7, the duo have swapped smack talk and body blows as they’ve tried to take each other down.
But when cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist Brixton (Idris Elba) gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever — and bests a brilliant and fearless rogue MI6 agent (The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby), who just happens to be Shaw’s sister — these two sworn enemies will have to partner up to bring down the only guy who might be badder than themselves.
Hobbs & Shaw blasts open a new door in the Fast universe as it hurtles action across the globe, from Los Angeles to London and from the toxic wasteland of Chernobyl to the lush beauty of Samoa.
Directed by David Leitch (Deadpool 2) from a script by longtime Fast & Furious narrative architect Chris Morgan, the film is produced by Morgan, Johnson, Statham and Hiram Garcia. The executive producers are Dany Garcia, Kelly McCormick, Steven Chasman, Ethan Smith and Ainsley Davies.