June 19, 2015, - 6:17 pm
It’s mediocrity city among the new movie releases in theaters today (I did not see “Dope”):
* “Inside Out“: This is the new animated Disney Pixar flick. It’s getting rave reviews from most mainstream media movie critics, but not me. I thought it was more than a little contrived and quite the bore. And it lacked the usual magic and charm that comes with Pixar movies. I thought the story was kind of blah (with the sub rosa agenda of trying to pimp us on girls hockey). And the movie was quite cloying in a very saccharine way. The animation is fine, but not that spectacular. In fact, it’s kinda dull compared with previous Disney Pixar animation. It’s supposed to be funny, and it did have a few funny lines that made me laugh. But it wasn’t non-stop comedy. In fact, some of it is kind of depressing.
I thought the plot line and devices were interesting and I was expecting to like this movie. But the idea was better than the execution (and the movie trailer). The movie is cheesy and filled with lulls and silliness than interesting.
The story: a young teen girl who is very good at hockey must move away from her native Minnesota with her parents. Once they are in their new location, her father has problems paying the bills. And the girl has problems in hockey and with friends, and is depressed and upset. She decides to run away. Meanwhile, the various feelings (sadness, joy, etc.) inside her head are debating, competing, and also working together to try to help her. They are embodied by different characters, voiced by Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, etc. These characters work inside a giant storage facility that keeps the girl’s memories and has several islands or amusement parks that stand for the various aspects of her life: family, sports, goofiness, etc. When the girl gets depressed and contemplates running away, the islands begin collapsing and disappearing and her memories start turning blue (for sadness). The various feelings are trying to save her and the islands.
Like I said, it’s kind of silly and contrived. And, despite the hype and excessive praise, it’s a letdown given previous Pixar fare. Nothing truly offensive about it (though there is one scene in which bleeping happens, which seemed inappropriate for a kids’ film). I left this feeling underwhelmed.
Though the target for this is supposed to be kids, it is probably aimed at their parents, too. I’m sure the kids will like it and then forget about it very quickly.
HALF A REAGAN
Watch the trailer . . .
* “I’ll See You in My Dreams“: I have mixed feelings about this film, starring Blythe Danner a/k/a “Mom of Gwyneth (Paltrow)” as a senior citizen widow who enters the dating scene. At first it was a relaxing and slightly funny movie. I laughed a few times, but then it just gets depressing and never stops. And abruptly it ends. I felt it was manipulative at times and for no apparent reason or point. Also, we learn in the movie that Danner’s husband died 20 years ago. And, yet, there is no explanation for why she suddenly, just now, has decided to start dating men. The movie focuses on Danner’s relationships with three sets of people: other female seniors who are friends with her, Sam Elliott whom she meets and begins to date, and a much younger, aimless pool boy, who seems to enjoy her platonic company.
Not a feel good movie. Not even close. Not terribly bad or anything. Just pointless and not something I’d spend ten bucks or more to see.
HALF A MARX
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Hunting Elephants“: I hated this movie. It’s a bank robbery caper movie, which means it should be entertaining. It’s a comedy, which means it should be funny. But, with a few brief exceptions, it is neither of these. Instead, it is the typical drivel that comes out of Israel’s Hollywood, which is even more far left and hateful of its home country than America’s Hollywood. The movie is also unnecessarily funny, to the point of grossness, and it’s very juvenile. You don’t need to be a prude to be annoyed by this movie.
The story: an Israeli teen boy who has a stutter and no friends loses his father to a heart attack. The father was a security guard at a bank and died there one night. So, the boy’s mother, in need of money and someone to watch the boy, contacts her father-in-law (the boy’s grandfather), a man with whom she hasn’t spoken in well over a decade. She seeks the man’s help and, eventually, the two become close. The grandfather was a member of the Irgun, the Jewish “underground,” and is not only a filthy man, but a jerk. His wife, an English woman, is in a coma. Her brother, played by Patrick Stewart, is a failed English actor in need of a lot of money to buy the rights to a play he is producing. Stewart is very anti-Israel and hates Jews. His father headed British police in pre-Israel Palestine. Stewart is the stuttering teen’s great-uncle, whom he’s never met. Soon, the boy convinces his grandfather, British great-uncle, and some of the grandfather’s friends at a nursing home to rob the bank, where the boy’s father was the security guard. All of them need money, and they believe the robbery will solve their financial problems.
There were a few funny lines in this, but mostly it was stupid and slow moving, not to mention anti-Israel, needlessly dirty, and a complete waste of time. In Hebrew and English, with English subtitles.
TWO MARXES PLUS AN ARAFAT
Watch the trailer . . .