*NEW* TROLLS REVIEW *NEW*

I didn’t find my happy place watching this.

After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the curmudgeonly Branch (Justin Timberlake) set off on a journey to rescue her friends.

Curmudgeonly? Word of the day. Had to grab a dictionary for that little doozy. That’s what you get for “borrowing” press releases. Anyway . . .

I had to laugh at the irony that the singer cast in the lead role voices a troll that won’t sing (Well until 70 minutes into the film).

This really is one for the little ‘uns. I couldn’t take the sugary sweet highly saturated animation with its ever-so-corny life messages. An insulin overdose for this diabetic.

It certainly didn’t win me over when a group of glitter-clad trolls were shooting glitter bombs out of each other’s backsides. Too much!

How does Russell Brand still get in movies? He’s like a foul stench that won’t go away. It was a toss up between him and James Corden for most annoying British comic to voice a troll. I could feel my hopes fading fast and that was only in the first 15 minutes!

I actually prayed for them to be eaten by a Bergen.

Director Walt Dohrn made more of an impression in his hilarious and tragically small cameo as the (appropriately titled) Cloud Guy. Give me five! Woah. GEAR SHIFT!

BUT that’s not to say that the film didn’t have its moments. I couldn’t think of anybody better than Pitch Perfect’s Anna Kendrick to take on the role of Princess Poppy. Belting out some cracking medleys that meshed up Earth, Wind and Fire, Junior Senior and Simon and Garfunkel.

A crazy mix BUT it worked. Even my grumbling subdued for those sequences.

“The world isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows”

JT played the part of the miserable Branch brilliantly. The social outcast locked away in his Bergen proof bunker. Branded a laughing stock while the rest of the clan party, hug and sing (Shudders)

He worked well with Kendrick and the pair made an entertaining duo. Poppy’s mad energy and infectious enthusiasm battling Branch’s endless paranoia and pessimism.

I tried not to pick at the flimsy story line. Some guff about Bergens eating trolls as their source of happiness. A Bergen can never be happy if they have never tasted a troll. Really? They seemed pretty happy hunting them and cooking them.

Christine Baranski (The Good Wife) played the dastardly Chef with aplomb. Determined to hunt down all the trolls to save herself from exile.

Christophe Beck’s soundtrack choices were excellent. I didn’t expect to see the Bergens slumping around to Gorillaz’s Sunshine In A Bag.

Apart from JT’s (Oscar nominated) toe tapping Can’t Stop the Feeling, the original material left little to be desired. It didn’t help that Kendrick’s voice really grated against me while singing ‘Get Up Again’.

The silly little subplot involving King Gristle (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and his hand maiden Bridget (Zooey Deschanel) was entertaining enough and made up for the lacklustre journey.

I expected a bit more of an adventure. They got to the Bergen kingdom pretty quickly which made me think that they didn’t hide that well in the first place!

Deschanel was funny as the ditsy Bergen desperate to catch the king’s eye. Her attempts to woo him were comical. Her rendition of Lionel Richie’s Hello had me in stitches.

I didn’t even recognize The Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar as the auto-tuning troll Guy Diamond. Maybe that was a good thing.

It was a movie of moments. There were some good ones and some bad ones. It was watchable enough and killed the time BUT memorable?

It had enough to entertain the little ‘uns BUT the bigger kids . . . Well. I’d recommend Sing instead.

BUT I’ll let you be the judges.

2.5/5

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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 REVIEW

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DRAGONS! Hiccup and Toothless are back after the DreamWorks animated blockbuster hit the big screens! Bigger? Absolutely. Better? Visually it’s a feast for the eyes. While not surpassing the original, it certainly matches it for story, drama and entertainment. Get the little ‘uns or the big kids (like myself) over to the pics and invest!

So what’s it all about? It’s been five years since Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless successfully united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk. While Astrid, Snotlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favourite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the centre of a battle to protect the peace.

Firstly, 3D not a massive investment to be honest. So save your pennies, parents. The animation is incredible alone. The 3D makes it more prominent but not a must. The detail is stunning. Every little thing, the expressions, the waves as Hiccup and Toothless soar across the seas, brilliant. Anyway, we reunite with the dynamic duo and it is great that the characters have actually aged in the five years. Hiccup does look very different, and weirdly a little like Andy from Toy Story.

The gang are all back, along with the original and very talented voicing cast consisting of Jonah Hill, America Ferrera, Kristen Wiig, Craig Ferguson, Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse and T. J. Miller. Although, they don’t seem to be in this film as much. They still make a mark and bring the laughs but until the second half really. They seemed to be cast aside and understandably so as the story primarily revolves around Hiccup yet again. Torn between being a dragon rider and taking over the reins of being chief by his pushy but legendary father, Stoick (THIS IS . . . Gerard Butler), Hiccup must make a choice.

The spoiler-ific trailers reveal the identity of the mysterious Dragon Rider which was hardly a surprise twist. But for those who were lucky enough not to see that trailer then don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you. Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond/Gladiator) brings his gravelly gravitas to the sinister Drago with aplomb. It was irritating me who was voicing Eret, the henchman. Firstly because I recognised the voice and secondly because his voice didn’t seem strong enough and didn’t match the character. And low and behold, I know nothing as it was Kit “Jon Snow” Harington (Game of Thrones – obviously). Shame. His conviction didn’t pull it off for me.

However, these are only minor quibbles as there are laughs to be had. Moments that surprise and pluck at the heart strings. It’s riveting, a feast for the eyes with an enthralling visual masterpiece of a finale with Toothless taking on his biggest foe to date. It may not surpass the original as the story may not necessarily break new ground but it is most certainly on par and if rumours are hinting at another, then another I want. I won’t divulge too much as this is one I would recommend that you see. There’s a little something for every one plus DRAGONS, hellooo.

In the words of GB, THIS IS . . . Not a bad sequel. 4 out of 5! Better. See I do like some films, you know!

BAD NEIGHBOURS REVIEW

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Rogen vs Efron. Family vs Frat. Who Will Win? There’s only one way to find out . . . if you like that sort of thing.

Rogen’s best? Not even close. But is it funny? (The very purpose of a comedy). Did I laugh? Is it one of those movies where the best bits are in the trailers? Yes, yes, and unfortunately quite a bit. Once you’ve seen Rogen hurtled up in the air after sitting on a rigged chair involving an airbag, it gets old very quickly. Although Rogen creeping around the house with a broomstick did reprieve the gag. Surprisingly enough one of the heavily advertised gags wasn’t in the film. Back to my getting old quip. At it’s very core, the film is about a couple who have had their first child (the adorable Vargas twins) and are still trying to be cool and young. Beating the “constraints” that parenthood has apparently set on their “partying” lifestyles. In all fairness, there could have been a bigger examination into their relationship but it would have been an entirely different film.

A couple of well acted scenes make them a little more than a caricature couple. But come on, this is a fraternity freakshow involving Seth Rogen. He applies his slobby swearing spiel and luckily it still works. The whole slacking smoking pot thing is getting a little old. Rogen and Rose Byrne work well together and have good chemistry. It was good to see Rose Byrne (Damages) take off the serious shackles and lighten up. The scenes in which the Radners are trying to be cool with the kids is incredibly cringeworthy but nicely done. Others will say not funny, but that’s kind of the point as the pair battle to come to terms that its time to grow up. Or is it?

That soon gets thrown out of the window as low and behold the house next door is sold to a fraternity led by the charismatic and incredibly hench Zac Efron. (Just when I couldn’t hate him any more). Efron shakes off that squeaky clean High School Musical mould in one silk movement of his middle finger. Efron proves yet again to be a talented lead in a testosterone-pumped cast of fraternity frat boys. In all fairness, once Efron and Rogen meet, the film picks up. Their Batman impression off is worth watching alone. The getting high and taking shots scenes. Again, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Rogen and Efron in a drunken dance off. Better.

Once the rivalry is set and the pranks begin, the thin plot gets thrown out like Rogen on the airbag. Where we got Efron coming to terms that he may have wasted his college years partying and the Radners battling to accept parenthood, we soon get college humour, dicking around (No literally, Rogen and Efron at one point are slapping each other with giant dildos) in an inevitably corny and OTT fashion. The big punch up finale being an incredibly hilarious, if ridiculous scene. It’s all still enjoyable, if a little lazy. It’s a shame that the talented cast didn’t really make as much of an impact as you would hope. Lisa Kudrow (Friends) plays a useless dean, Carla Gallo (Bones/Superbad) is shoved in an irritating and useless role and Christopher “McLovin/The Motherfucker” Mintz-Plasse is highly unmemorable, simply squawking YOLO in a high pitched voice. Disappointing after so many great turns. Ali Cobrin (American Pie: American Reunion) and Halston Sage (The Bling Ring) were wasted as silly frat chicks. Shame.

It’s the smaller names that provide the funnier characters. Craig Roberts’ turn (you may remember him? Look again. Here’s a hint. Richard Ayoade’s Submarine. Yep) as the appropriately named Assjuice wasn’t bad. Just as we get rid of one Franco, we find out there’s another. Dave Franco (Now You See Me) was good and is proving to be one to watch. Up and coming stand up Jerrod Carmichael was hilarious as weed junkie Garf. The award for scene stealing support act goes to Ike Barinholtz (The Mindy Project) as Rogen’s neurotic best friend Jimmy. His impromptu one liners, bat shit crazy attitude and impeccable impressions of certain celebrities brings the film up a notch. The scene in which the frat house explain their origins and how they came across beer pong, the boot, etc was cheesy if funny and a lazy excuse to shove in a number of cameos from The Lonely Island and Jake Johnson (Nick from New Girl).

So in conclusion, do you like Rogen? Do you like Efron? Then bienvenue this film is for you. It’s big, dumb, silly, corny, OTT but brings the odd chuckle. Not a keg full but enough little shots to keep you buzzing 3 (just) out of 5!

Currently ranks #64 out of 175!