June 10, 2016, - 4:15 pm

Wknd Box Office: The Conjuring 2, Now You See Me 2, Warcraft

By Debbie Schlussel



The new choices in movies debuting in theaters today should tell you something about the quality of movies these days: two sequels of just okay (if that) movies and another one based on a video game. In other words, nothing to write home about.

* The Conjuring 2 – R: Obviously, this is a sequel to the original “The Conjuring” (read my review), but it’s not quite as scary. It’s also a sequel of sorts to “Anabelle” (read my review). Both movies involve the real-life couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), who did exorcisms and tried to remove demons on behalf of the Catholic Church. (Ed Warren died in 2006, but his wife is still alive.) This movie is based on yet another of the Warrens’ real-life experiences in the exorcism biz.

At the beginning of the movie, Lorraine Warren has a series of visions and nightmares of a demon (which looks like a half-nun/half skeleton kind of figure). She also has visions of the demon killing her husband. It’s against that backdrop that the Warrens are once again recruited by a Catholic Church priest to help a family affected by the possession of a demon. This time, it’s in London, where a working class, single-mother household with four kids is facing some scary experiences. Many weird things start happening in the home, and the youngest daughter begins having visions of scary creatures, including and especially an old man, chasing her around the home. Soon, she becomes possessed. It turns out the old man died in the home years ago, and he won’t go away. But he’s a stand-in for a scarier familiar demon.

A few parts of the movie are very scary, but overall, I just didn’t find it that scary. Still, it was entertaining and there is nothing objectionable about it. I liked the way–as per Conjuring films–the religious and the faithful are portrayed with reverence. The Warrens take their Catholic faith seriously, and they are the heroes of the film, something you rarely see coming out of Hollywood. Also I liked that, as with other Conjuring films, the movie shows the real-life people (and they look similar to their actor counterparts) at the end of the movie, as credits roll.

The movie takes place in the ’70s, and once again, I love the close attention to detail in terms of ’70s wardrobe, cars, decor, and other accoutrements of the time. Farmiga is generally a good actress and Wilson does a workmanlike job. The movie mixes some humor in, unlike the other Conjuring films, so that’s a plus, and the movie is entertaining, though maybe not as much as previous Conjuring movies. However, it’s a little long and slow, clocking in at about two hours and 15 minutes. So, go to the bathroom beforehand.


Watch the trailer . . .

* Now You See Me 2 – PG-13: This is basically the same thing as the original “Now You See Me” (read my review) only with a new actress in the chick role (Lizzy Caplan replaces Mrs. Sacha Baron Cohen a/k/a Isla Fisher). And I wasn’t that crazy about the original. In the original, a group of magician con artists do all kinds of tricks and stunts and rob from the rich to give to the poor. But they’re nothing but criminals, even if the movie doesn’t want you to think so and wants you to cheer them on instead.

And, as with the original, the villains are not these charlatan magicians. The villains are Hollywood’s stock evil rich businessmen. In the original, it was Michael Caine. In this one, Caine is eventually back, joined by Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe (who adds nothing and isn’t a good actor beyond the kids’ wizardry school). And here’s a tip: it ain’t double the pleasure or double the fun. I wonder if magician David Copperfield, who produced this movie, agrees with the evil businessman diatribe? If so, he should give back the millions he made with big shows in Vegas and on TV over the decades. But he won’t.

As with the original Now You See Me, a lot of magic tricks and stunts and a lot of the plot are confusing, cockamamie, contrived, and just downright preposterous. And, as with the original, the Horsemen, as the magicians are called, are on the run from the FBI. This time, though, Mark Ruffalo, as the agent investigating them, is also a double agent, quietly and secretly helping them, though he’s quickly discovered early on.

The original was something of a shaggy dog story with layers of an onion constantly unfolding. But this one is even more of a shaggy dog and the layers constantly unfolding are a confusing mess that seems kinda silly. A plot theme involving the mysterious “The Eye” organization, which instructs and helps protect the Horsemen, is somewhat misleading and not fully explained.

So, you see, they basically revomited the original movie with a few minor changes.

That said, the movie is still somewhat entertaining, if you need two hours to waste and have nothing else to do. It wasn’t objectionable other than the typical Hollywood anti-capitalist narrative. That is, if you find Woody Harrelson (playing two characters), Jesse Eisenberg, and Dave Franco entertaining. Also, I found the movie to be a little long, circuitous, and repetitive.

In this one, they trot out an “evil twin brother” character for Harrelson to play (who, with the wig he’s sporting, looks like Roger Clinton, bro-in-law of Hillary recently in the news for drunk driving), in addition to his Horseman role. And I have this “Doublemint Twins” theory of movies: when they gotta trot out an evil twin, you know the movie’s in trouble.


Watch the trailer . . .

* Warcraft – PG-13: I hated this. It was interminably long and boring. The “story” is stupid. And the computer-generated image (CGI) animation was awful and so obvious that it looked like 1980s’ technology was used. Constant orchestral music playing in the background didn’t help the movie get better. In fact, it made it worse. I couldn’t wait for this to end, but I felt like it had a zillion endings, then kept on going. Not that I expected anything good out of a movie based on a silly, formerly-popular (several years ago) video game. And it lived down to my expectations.

Oh, and another thing: Paula Patton is really a Z-list actress, which is why she’s in this . . . with tusks coming out of her mouth. Watching her try to make out with another character with those tusks getting in the way, was unintentionally hilarious. Or was it unintentional? This movie is so bad, I feel like maybe they purposely made it that way for a future following due to campiness a la Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s that dumb.

The story: there are two worlds–one with humans in what appears to be a Medieval English kingdom (but filled with minority nobles, including Asians and Blacks, which wasn’t the case then), and another with giant animated, ugly, caveman-like monsters, known as “Orcs.” Somehow humans have gotten into the Orc’s world, and the evil Orc leaders keep them prisoner to suck the life out of them and feed that lifeforce to a gateway to the human world. The Orcs want to eventually make the gateway powerful enough that they can travel through it to the human world and take it over.

The humans discover the Orc world and want to stop what the Orcs are trying to do. They take prisoner a beautiful half-breed Orc, played by Poundstone, and she eventually helps them and infiltrates the Orc world on their behalf. Then, there is a giant battle between Orcs and humans.

Believe me, I’m making this sound more understandable than it actually is. It’s really quite confusing. And you just don’t care enough to try to figure it out. Again, it’s from a video game. So, there’s no hope for it anyway.

If there was one thing I liked about this, it’s that some of the Orcs have interesting-looking tusks. One has tusks on his back with skulls on them. Others wear monster skeletons as accessories. Those kept me interested for like two minutes. Not enough to wanna waste two hours of my life I’ll never get back.


Watch the trailer . . .

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8 Responses

Hey Deb, no words on Muhammad Ali Passing?

papijones427 on June 11, 2016 at 12:40 pm

427: So, Ali died. Not a word about Gordie Howe in the “mainstream” media, contrasted to monumental coverage of Ali’s funeral and the “Wellstone Memorial” political show the libtards put on. Sorry for Ali’s family, but ows, buh-bye!

jc15 on June 11, 2016 at 7:09 pm

I’ve read a lot of your reviews, and a few other things on your site and something just doesn’t make sense to me. How can a someone with a intelligence such as yours not follow the plot of a movie like warcraft? It’s not a well written movie at all. The writing is sinple but that’s not what most people watch movies like that for. The movie is for simple minded people that love action. How did you not follow it? Did you actually watch it, or did you make up a review?

Nate on June 12, 2016 at 5:46 am

“it lived down to my expectations”
Great line, I love it.

Steve G on June 13, 2016 at 6:28 am

No word from Debbie on Orlando? Has it all become that redundant?
Oh look, another Muslim Terrorist shooting, what a surprise.
One thing the Liberals overlooked about the ‘Diversity Culture’ is how much all those diverse cultures HATE EACH OTHER!

theShadow on June 13, 2016 at 10:25 pm

At least Paula Patton has her beauty going for her, unlike someone we all know.

Hillel on June 16, 2016 at 4:24 am

Actually, I thought Conjuring 2 was much scarier than the first. For what it’s worth, I really recommend it- lots of creative movie making in there as well in the form of transitions and such.

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