Geek For E!

TwiView: Angry Birds 2 (2019)

The birds are back and they are no longer angry. After saving the eggs of Bird Island from the Pigs in the first movie, Red (Jason Sudeikis), Chuck (Josh Gad), and Bomb (Danny McBride) spend their days feuding with the Pigs from Pig Island. Their job is never done and Red basks in the glory of being a hero.

That is until one day the leader of the Pigs, Leonard (Bill Hader), asks for a truce. Having discovered another Island whose inhabitants don’t have the best intentions in mind for Bird or Pig Island, Leonard asks Red for his help to stop them. Cue Red getting the bird band back together including Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) and reluctantly adding Chuck’s sister, Silver (Rachel Bloom).

Funnier than the first Angry Birds 2 has a ton of laughs, and if the late ’90s and early 2000s was your jam a lot of the humor is right up your alley. (Especially if you loved Dawson’s Creek.) Some amazing actors join the cast for Angry Birds 2, Leslie Jones as Zeta, Awkwafina as Courtney, Sterling K. Brown as Garry, and Tiffany Haddish as Debbie. Angry Birds 2 is rated PG. It does have some adult language and rude humor. I give Angry Birds 2 a B. Angry Birds 2 opens on TUES 08.13.19 (R. Barry)

(L to R, front to back) Courtney (Awkwafina), Chuck (Josh Gad), Silver (Rachel Bloom), Red (Jason Sudeikis), Leonard (Bill Hader), Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) and Bomb (Danny McBride) in Columbia Pictures and Rovio Animations’ ANGRY BIRDS 2.

Hair Love Short Film (2019)

There is an animated short film that shows before Angry Birds 2 called Hair Love. It is about a little girl who wants her hair done so badly and her father who tries to do it. It is one of the cutest and most heartwarming short films I have seen in a while. I give Hair Love an A. (R. Barry)

Twiview: Fast And Furious Presents: Hobbs And Shaw

Is this franchise a bit stale with overblown action sequences and monster cars?  That would be no.  In actuality its just as vibrant, much more funny, and a Samoan rocking good time!  The Rock (Be Cool) and Jason Statham (The Transporter) return as Hobbs and Shaw respectively.   This time out, they’re teamed with Shaw’s sister Hattie (Vannessa Kirby; MI: Fallout) to thwart a revolutionary new kind of baddie…a cyber-enhanced one who goes by the name Brixton (Idris Elba; Molly’s Game).  Brixton is an augmented human with bionic implants, embedded AI tech and a super-suit so cool, it’s got holster’s for his multitude of guns.  Brixton, puppeteered by a shadowy ‘the man’ character you never meet, traverses the globe hunting down Hattie who is in position of a rare programmable virus that could wipe out the human race.   Shaw and Hobbs are reluctantly pulled in by the US government to track Brixton, retrieve the virus and save the day. 

Put aside the bevy of cameos in the film by some unexpected leading Hollywood names (no spoilers!), there’s something else buried deep within the nougaty center of this balls-out action blast, and that’s a message of family and forgiveness.   The Rock serves as a producer for this film and I get the sense that he was the driver for adding this element.  Hobb’s has a young precocious daughter who brings his character a touch of the softer side to balance out all this head-crushing action.  Going further, we get a deeper sense of Hobb’s connection to his estranged Samoan island family and how even in bad times, family will always win out in the end.  I confess, I have not followed the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise through its entirety so I can’t speak to continuity of storylines.  What I can say is that if you can see through some of the outlandish stunt sequences (which still look amazing even if completely unbelievable), you’ll find that this is a seriously funny film.  It’s more ‘buddy-cop’ than direct action vehicle which is strongly supported by those surprise cameos.  See this one with a date for some fun, it’s far from Shakespeare, but that isn’t why we love these high-octane, head-cracking action flicks.  B-

They'll save the world, if they don't kill each other first!

Review: The Lion King (2019)

I’m hoping there’s no ‘spoiler concerns,’ for readers as this is a remake 25 years in the making and as far as reboots go, this one is…acceptable.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved the animated version, music and all.  But, with the reboot, I wasn’t as happy.  Maybe it was too real?  Watching Simba and Scar go at it in animated form is a lot different than watching ‘real life’ lions going at each other (kinda scary).   The whimsy and folly of the original soundtrack takes a reboot here as key lyrics are changed (some for the better, some for the worse).  Even with Elton John back in the music fold to help out, I still felt as though the rebooted tracks were lacking.  The standout exception is the Beyonce, Donald Glover, Seth Rogen rendition of ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight,’  this one still gave me goosebumps like the original. 

So, the plot you know, right?  Young Simba is born into a great responsibility of caring for the African Prideland.  Young, rash and easily impressionable he unwittingly becomes a pawn in his Uncle Scar’s plans to take over the Pride by murdering Simba’s father, Mufasa (still voiced strongly and so well by James Earl Jones).  Ashamed of his role in his father’s death and chased out by his Uncle, Simba starts a new life in the wilderness and meets two animal friends who eagerly usher him through the new landscape.  With Timon (Billy Eichner) the Meerkat and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) the warthog Simba learns to dismiss his upbringing and Pride responsibilities in favor of a carefree life.  When life within the Pride reaches destitute means, the lioness’ led by Simba’s former childhood friend Nala (Beyonce) leave the Pride for help which is what circles Nala back to Simba and a reminder about his real place in the ‘circle of life.’

So lets get to what matters, right?  Will you enjoy this film and will it frighten your young ones?  The simple answer is yes, on both counts.  It’s the ‘Lion King’ and the story has endured for 25 years via sequels, Broadway iterations and even an amusement park ride!  You’ll enjoy it because its essentially the same story as the original with some enhanced tidbits embedded throughout.  It is dark, and by that I mean, it’s a bit scary.  The elephant graveyard, the hyena’s and of course the penultimate fight scene in the 3rd act.  Remember the animated hyena’s?  They were funny, obviously bad guys, but far from what you’ll see here.  Shenzi (the lead hyena played by Whoopi Goldberg in the original), doesn’t so much seem like a member of the core trio, as an all-encompassing leader that would probably kill her own kind to get her means to an end.  Scar (voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor) is obviously the bad guy, but his digitally animated form is not the ‘bony, barely there’ animated kind – it’s a harsher and more jaded face that starkly reminded me of the tiger Shere Khan from 2016’s ‘The Jungle Book.’  The rest of the voice talent within is serviceable.  Beyonce as Nala is incredibly underused, and outside of needing her voice for the key love song – she has no real presence.  The standout, for me, was Zazu (voiced ably and on par by John Oliver), and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen).   The rest of the voice talent carries the film, but none transcend.  

This film is rated PG not G like the original and it is a rightly designation.  Keep your kiddies close as the story draws out, they’ll be reaching for your hand at some point.  Running Time: 2hrs. – Grade, B-

The Lion King (2019)

TwiView: Stuber (2019)

 Looking for a movie with action and ‘millennial Uber driver meets 80’s’ style cop comedy? Look no further than Stuber. A sporting goods clerk by day, and Uber driver at night, Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) just wants to make some extra money to help open up a small business with a friend. Vic (Dave Bautista) is an older cop on a mission to capture a drug dealing bad guy who has eluded him for months. When Stu and Vic’s worlds collide, it turns into one hilarious shoot out after another, and we find out exactly the lengths Stu will go to keep his 5-star rating. Nanjiani shines in this action-packed comedy, and Bautista shows us he is a more versatile actor then some may think. Stuber will have you laughing through the whole movie. While I wish I could give Stuber a 5-star rating, I can’t. But, it is still a great summer movie and worth purchasing a ticket to see. 3 ½ stars. Stuber is rated R due to violence, brief nudity, language and sexual references. If you love 80’s cop movies you will enjoy Stuber. Stuber opens nationwide on FRI 07.12.19 (R. Barry)

Stuber (2019)
It’s going to be a rough path to 5-stars

Review: Spider-Man, Far From Home (2019)

(Spoiler Free!) Maybe you’re like me and think the latest iteration of Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is a little too young, naïve, and nice?  I mean, he is the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, but this kid is just a bit to cordial and a bit too trusting.  You can argue that’s a big theme in this latest installment from the MCU.  The plot you know right?  Peter and his classmates embark on a class trip to Europe which is interrupted by elemental forces who are being fought by a Thor-like superhero named Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).  In the midst of this, is a blossoming pubescent relationship between Peter and MJ (Zendaya), and a relentless Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) who is hellbent on breaking Peter’s ‘love’ plans in favor of recruiting him to help Mysterio.  Seems like all the makings of a super-hero thriller right?  But wait, there’s more.  Remember ‘Avengers Infinity War/Endgame?’  How our penchant heroes saved the world and brought half the worlds population back to life?  SFFH continues that storyline with a really cool arc (no spoilers). 

Without spoiling it, you will enjoy this engaging installment of the franchise.  It’s a fitting follow up for ‘Endgame’ and a great growing point for all the primary characters including Happy (Jon Favreau), Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), and even his roommate Ned (Jacob Batalon).  Director Jon Watts (Cop Car) does a fantastic job with a big budget and a bevy of stars to handle.  This film could have easily left the mark by purely focusing on Spider-Man/Mysterio, but instead it does an artful job of making you care about young Peter, his teenage angst (waitaminit, is he still a teenager?), and even the budding romance of his oddly young and ‘incredibly hot after all these years’ Aunt May.  Let’s not forget the world locales as well.   Watts and his production designer did an amazing job showcasing world landmark locations in way that made them feel almost Disneyland like – I wanted to be at every site they filmed at.

This chapter is not the penultimate of the MCU, but it’s a solid addition to it.  You’ll be engaged the entire ride and leave the theater wishing you had a set of Tony Stark’s ‘big brother’ spectacles!  There is, to me, one gaping hole plot but I’ll wait until WED of next week to discuss it in this post (no spoilers!).  B+ Spider-Man Far From Home is rated PG-13 with a running time of 2h 13m.  Oh yeah, SPOILER ALERT!! There are two post credit scenes you’ll want to stick around for and both are not only relevant but great additions to the storyline.

Glass, DVD/BluRay Giveaway!

Fan of M. Night Shyamalan? Well we’ve got DVD/BluRay copies of his latest thriller, ‘Glass.’ The film features Shyamalan’s eccentric trio of super and anti-heroes, while offering a closer look at the world of the men within; Elijah Price, also known as Mr. Glass (Samuel J. Jackson), David Dunn (Bruce Willis), and Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) all work together to weave a tale of escalating encounters as they escape from an asylum and embark on a thrilling battle of good versus evil! Want to score a copy of the disc for yourself? Check the contest details below the banner and #staygeeky

A shattering new thriller from the Director of ‘The Sixth Sense’
[Read more…]

TwitView: The LEGO Movie 2, The Second Part, A+

TwiView: The LEGO Movie 2, The Second Part – This is what the follow up LEGO movies behind the original SHOULD have been! A return to the cross-storyline that involves not just the LEGO characters but also the humans that are controlling them.  This time out, Bricksburg is threatened by an alien force which in the real world is a powerful ‘Mom’ whose trying to get her children to learn how to play together.  You’ll get bonuses in this one in the form of some great new characters and voices including the sultry, slick and evil? Tiffany Haddish as Queen Watevra (get it?).  Chris Pratt pulls double duty as Awesome Emmitt and the all-new Rex Dangervest.  What sets this iteration apart from the abysmal LEGO Ninjago movie and LEGO Batman movie is its return to family cohesiveness at its core.  Remember that wonder from the original film as real-life little Jaden builds a LEGO world in his Dad’s basement and it plays out in the LEGO world? Well, you get a nice heaping helping of that again and you’ll be delighted by the characters you meet along the way.  A-

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch – BluRay/DVD Giveaway!

Oh the weather outside is frightful…And it looks to continue so why not stay warm by the fire with a heartwarming and grinchy tale to help you pass the frost-bitten hours?  Universal Home Video is proudly launching the box-office smash reboot of the classic Dr. Seuss hit, ‘The Grinch’ starring Benedict Cumberbatch on JAN 22 via digital and on FEB 05, 2019 for 3K Ultra, Blu-Ray and DVD.  Want to score a copy of the BluRay/DVD delivered right to your door?  Check the contest details behind the post, and #staygeeky

[Read more…]

TwiView: The Upside (in theaters now)

TwiView: The Upside (in theaters now). Kevin Hart (Dell) & Bryan Cranston (Philip) form the unlikeliest of friends in this touching, urbanely funny, and spirit lifting dramedy. After stumbling onto a job as a care companion for Philip, an agitated paraplegic billionaire, Dell discovers hope, challenge and change are in store for them both as each helps the other to recognize ‘the upside’ to their very different but equally difficult lives. For Dell, an estranged father to his son and girlfriend, there are lessons of humility and responsibility. For Philip, it’s learning that he can recover the pieces of his life he’d long thought gone based on his crippling condition. The film is light hearted enough and full of adventures between the two as the curmudgeonly Philip is shown a new way of looking at life by the optimistic and one-liner filled Dell. The true standout in the film is Nicole Kidman (Yvonne), who works for Philip as an Executive household secretary of sorts (even though she’s Harvard educated and capable of so much more). Kidman’s ability to showcase command of Philips home staff, while simultaneously displaying frailty over her own life and choices was mesmerizing. ‘The Upside’ is funny, yes – but at its root is a story of redemption – for both Dell & Philip. See it with a friend or date and see if you can gauge if in fact that is Julianna Margulies (TV’s ER & The Good Wife), portraying Philips long time pen-pal turned blind date. B+

Hart & Cranston from an enjoyable albeit unlikely friendship

Movie Review: Aquaman

TwittReview: Aquaman delivers a big bucket of FUN! Director James Wan brings us a movie that shows there is light in this tunnel for DC Comics and movie adaptions. The second act, from start to finish, is one of the most fun sequences I’ve seen in a movie in a very long time! Grade: 5 out of 5!!

Aquaman official poster (aquamanmovie.com)

[Read more…]