Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature

The animals are back and ready to save their beloved park in the follow up to 2014’s “Nut Job.” There’s familiar faces as well as some new characters who all work together to deliver an animated film that explores the lives of critters in a big city park. So, does this sequel provide an entertaining animated adventure or are all the nuts spoiled? Let’s dive in and take a look at “Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature” in this review…

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This movie is garbage. I almost walked out of the theater halfway in and the run time is only 90 minutes. This film celebrates laziness, the benefits of businesses failing, how horrid white business men are and it is also poorly written. This was the biggest piece of propaganda nonsense I’ve seen in a long while. I couldn’t believe what I saw on screen. The writers for this film didn’t even bother to try and subtly imply their political leanings. They were almost beating the audience over the head with it. Meanwhile, they decided to make it animated which almost feels like they’re trying to manipulate kids into relating with the protagonists who were, mostly, indolent characters. I sat through this film aghast at what I was witnessing.

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The main character, Surly, celebrates a businesses failure because it’s a nut shop and that allows the park critters to eat for free instead of having to hunt for food like a normal animal would. Instead, they are all celebrating this failed business that is now providing them shelter and free food. When charged with finding a new home, as their park is getting rebuilt as an amusement park, this same character leaves to find more free food from another failed business… instead of another park. The other lead in this movie, Andie, is openly mocked and ridiculed for trying to get the rest of the animals to go back to their normal life style of hunting and gathering.

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The villain in the film is such an over-the-top negative stereotype of the white business man it’s borderline ludicrous. The character refers to political contributions as bribes, the license plate on his car is about embezzling, and on and on. This film did so little to make me believe this was anything but an animated propaganda film attempting to lure kids or indoctrinate them into this bizarre view of the world. The writers didn’t even attempt in the slightest to make their points subtle or use any tact at all. This was a pile of animated garbage.

Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature” is in theaters now! Hopefully, it will be out of theaters sooner than later. I don’t recommend you see this film. I don’t recommend you let your kids watch this either. It’s a poorly written, piece of propaganda trash. I stayed until the end of the movie to see if there would be some sort of redeeming value and there wasn’t. This would’ve been a complete waste of my time except that I get to share this disaster with you in an attempt to save you from wasting 90 minutes of your life.

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The LEGO Batman Movie – Box Office Review

Occasionally, a cartoon that crosses the lines of entertainment suitable for adults and children alike drops in theaters and we’re all the better for it. Go ahead and add the character of Batman and his pantheon of supporting characters and you’re really telling movie-goers that you are trying to create something special. So let’s dive in and take a look at “LEGO Batman” in this box office review…

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First, since it’s an animated film let’s look at the voice talent that was used to tell this Batman story. Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas (RAFI BOMB!) Conan O’Brien, Doug Benson, Billy Dee Williams, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Jermaine Clement AND MORE!!! This film has so much incredible talent that each character was brought to life with a special and unique voice that built on the story and added humorous after humorous moment. The characters all sounded believable in their good or bad personas and each had their own great moment. I was blown away by how many characters were in this film from not just the Batman mythos but Warner Bros. films dating back decades. This was a mishmash of talent that paid off big for movie-goers and the movie studio.

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The story is that of an overly self absorbed man-child that saves the city time and time again from the likes of the Joker, the Riddler, Bane, Scarecrow, Catwoman and more. Our hero is isolated and continues to repress his desire for family and camaraderie. He’s even a bit surprised when he realizes his actions have led to the Justice League throwing a party that doesn’t involve him. It’s a coming of age tale that forces this version of Batman to see that with out others, villains included, he is just a guy who’s searching for purpose and meaning.

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LEGO Batman” is theaters now! I definitely recommend you see this film on the big screen. I have seen it twice so far. It’s one of the best Batman films ever made. The writers went to great lengths to celebrate decades of Batman mythos. From the earliest black and white serials of Batman from the golden age of cinema to present, we get all Batman all the time which is awesome. I laughed so hard I was crying and if you have kids you will get to laugh along with them. So finish reading this, collect your children and go enjoy some family time at the theater with “LEGO Batman.”

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Kubo and the Two Strings – Box Office Review

Once in awhile a film arrives in theaters that doesn’t have a strong advertising campaign and is mostly word of mouth that helps it financially succeed. In this particular case, I felt, that word of mouth was everything. The people I spoke with had not heard of this film and the theater employees I normally converse with also had not seen this film. This film had an almost ghost presence in theaters, where people knew of it but knew nothing of it. So Let’s dive in and take a look at my thoughts on “Kubo and the Two Strings” in this box office review…

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This film starts off with intensity. We see a mother carrying an injured baby on a ship in the middle of a storm at sea and then we’re told the baby’s injured because his grandfather stole his eye. I was immediately hooked. The story continues its journey showing us the life this young boy has grown into and his magical abilities and flair for story telling in his village.  It’s soon revealed that he’s not permitted to be out at night because his aunts and grandfather are still searching for him to steal his other eye and as story’s go, he stays out a little too late one day and trouble ensues.

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The story is told so well that you feel for the boy, Kubo. Even more, the characters you meet briefly in the village are voiced in such a way that we can’t help but fall into feelings for them. Kubo’s mother is a tragic figure but has the spirit of a fighter who will sacrifice herself for the protection of her child if need be. The aunts, voiced by Rooney Mara, are chilling to hear and see. Kubo’s grandfather is ominous and determined. Kubo’s partners, the monkey and ninja beetle are compliments to each other and the story. They provide guidance and levity in an otherwise serious coming of age tale. Kubo is on a journey, much like Homer from “The Odessy”, that leaves him forever changed from the innocent boy we meet first in the movie.

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This film was done using stop motion animation and it looks incredible. The characters, other than the aunts who are twins, all have their own look and coloring. They all have their own voice, personality and charm. The look of this film is bright and sunny, dark and terrifying, colorful and vibrant. We are treated to the entire spectrum and in one scene we get scary, brooding and colorful all under the ocean. It’s a fantastic looking film and it’s a wonderful story from start to finish.

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Kubo and the Two Strings” is in theaters now! I recommend you see this film on the big screen. I saw it twice. I adore this film. Kubo’s two strings are explained and you’ll understand the importance they have by the end of the film which is symbolic and powerful. This is a film with adventure and mysticism. It’s a tale of the importance of family and their lasting impact even after they’re gone. It’s a coming of age tale for Kubo to embrace who he is and was destined to be. It’s also humorous at times which helps keep this story from becoming overly intense. If you have kids ages 10+ this film might not be too scary but below that age range I make no guarantees. It’s intense, humorous, touching and thought provoking. Go see this film!

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Zootopia – Box Office Review

Disney Pictures takes us on an entertaining “whodunnit” crime drama that teaches us that life is more fulfilled when you follow your heart and chase your dreams. Believe in yourself against all the odds and you too can become all your heart desires. The story was cleverly and creatively told. There is also an element of getting to know others and not judging them based on their appearance or preconceived notions. It’s a fun time in the theater with enough jokes for adults and children alike. Let’s look at what made “Zootopia” such a delight…

The attention to detail was incredible. Tiny animals living in tiny cities that were placed within the larger city designed specifically for their abilities and that was such a treat to see. The chase scene where Hopps is chasing Weaselton and they have to venture into the tiny city where mice live was so much fun. Street vendors having options for the taller customers, giraffes, as well as the normal sized animals that frequent their carts was also enjoyable. There was so much thought put into the design of this film and I loved it.

The characters are divided in two groupings within the city but they all live harmoniously together. The predators and the prey. This is important because as the story evolves we realize that simply being a larger, more terrifying animal doesn’t mean you’re a predator. This film exposes how even the quietest, more gentle, animals can be predators as well with potentially more dangerous results. This is at the heart of things the story that drives this animated adventure. Do not judge without first investigating because you never really know someone until you get to know them.

The voice acting talent in this movie was also spot on. There’s so much talent I won’t be mentioning them all individually but if you follow the link for “Zootopia” you’ll be able to see exactly what I mean. I didn’t feel the voice actors just delivered their lines and that was it. It felt like I was listening to characters who had real emotions and were fully formed and not two dimensional. We are treated to characters who are believable in the way that only Disney can deliver.

“Zootopia” is in theaters now! I give this film all the carrots and ice pops requested. It’s a fun family film that will entertain all the ages. This film might not be remembered for the same charming qualities of other Disney Picture films like “Tangled” but it won’t disappoint either. If you have kids, this is an opportunity to spend family time together at the theater sharing some popcorn and laughs. If you have seen the film comment below and if you plan to see this film, come back and comment after you’ve enjoyed it.

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The Good Dinosaur: Box Office Review

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When Pixar announces they are making a new film there’s a certain level of excitement that happens. They have built a reputation for emotionally moving, entertaining and thought provoking animated films that probably make Shel Silverstein jealous. Unfortunately, nobody has a career of home runs. Michael Jordan missed some shots during his career. Even Tom Brady throws an interception from time to time and that’s what I felt walking out of “The Good Dinosaur” this weekend. Pixar tried and failed to meet the level of excellence I have come to expect from their films.

The film opens with a “what if” scenario. What if a comet didn’t strike the earth and eliminate all the dinosaurs? Well, in theory, it’s plausible that dinosaurs and prehistoric man would co-exist, however briefly. This is a solid concept for story telling because it allows the viewer the chance to understand immediately what world we are about to enter. A world where dinosaurs and man co-exist on a prehistoric earth. That’s where it felt like the thinking stopped and the questionable took over.

The creative team behind this film decided that the dinosaurs would all sound like they belonged in a western film. So, the main dinosaur family sounds like cowboy farmers, the pterodactyls sound like stage coach or train robbing buffoons, and the Tyyannosaurus Rex family, led by Sam Elliott, really took the western cowboy rancher sound to the extreme. An odd choice, but they made a decision and stuck it… but they didn’t. For some reason, while every other dinosaur character sounds like a cowboy, the main dinosaur sounds like a normal city kid. Apparently accents aren’t hereditary and dinosaurs are born sounding western, except for one. This is not a learned accent. It’s a birthright and the lead character did not have this pattern of speech even though his family did. Bizarre.

The story is a coming of age tale for the young dinosaur. He must become a grown up dinosaur and face his fears head on. This film details the crucible that he must endure if he is ever to find his family again. He won’t do this alone either. He’ll have a trusty side kick human who acts like a dog. At one point the dinosaur and the kid get stoned on berries and the audience is treated to a weird drug trip montage which felt wildly out of place in a Pixar movie. This film felt like that scene in the movie “Elf” where they ship the children’s book that didn’t make sense because they didn’t want to go back and start over with a story that worked.

Then the ending, the dinosaur finds a family of humans for the kid before he heads back to his farm with the surviving family members that didn’t die (it’s Pixar, someone always dies). I thought maybe we’d have a scene where the kid finds the dinosaur and his family and both families live on the farm and it’s all happily ever after. Nope. The kid goes off with his adopted human family and the dinosaur finds his family on the farm. So, the moral of the story is, have fun with strangers but don’t get too close because you’ll leave them eventually because they’re different? I walked out of that film so confused. The animation looked incredible though. So while I was thoroughly confused I did love how real some of the scenic shots looked.

“The Good Dinosaur” is in theaters now! I give this film the earth destroying comet it deserves so this ridiculous story would not have been made. Let’s leave the dinosaur and human experience to the Jurassic Park franchise. They seem to be back on track finally.

Comment below if you’ve already seen it and share your thoughts! Join in on the fun of movie watching and share this post with anyone who you feel would enjoy another one of my Box Office Reviews.

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Box Office Review: The Peanuts Movie

Good grief, Charlie Brown is back and the gangs all here in this wonderfully entertaining animated film. This movie has something for everyone because of its familiar characters or new faces, depending on your age. There was nothing lost in the story due in part to how much attention was paid to who the characters are, truly. If you have children this is a great opportunity to spend some time laughing together while Snoopy helps tell the story of becoming a winner and celebrating who you are. This delightful look at the lives of all the Peanuts characters will have longevity and hopefully that doesn’t mean we’ll have to wait decades for another film. If it does we at least have this movie to enjoy in the meanwhile.

The film centers around the story of Charlie Brown and his infatuation with the new girl in town, the little red haired girl. Charlie Brown expresses believable joy at the fact a new kid has arrived in town and this gives him a chance to start fresh and not be known as the perpetual failure and blockhead. After some stumbling about Charlie Brown decides to visit the town “shrink” and Lucy, for a nickel, gives Charlie Brown a book on how to be a winner. From here the movie really takes shape and we see the always lovable Snoopy take over story telling and blending different types of animation the movie delights.

The theater was filled with the laughter of children which says the target audience enjoyed the film. Occasionally a child would cheer or shout something appropriate because kids are honest and when they have a reaction it’s an honest reaction. This film brought out the best in the kids as viewers. Normally, when people talk during a movie it irks folks, myself included, however the children’s reactions added to the enjoyment. It was an animated success and this film won’t be out of theaters anytime soon, I’m sure. The joke about “Leo’s Toystore” by “Warren Piece” was written so accurately to how kids speak to each other and hear things I couldn’t help but smile and laugh along with the other adults enjoying this fine movie.

“The Peanuts Movie” is in theaters now! I give this film a kite that even Charlie Brown can fly and some cupcakes. It’s worth the cost of a theater ticket for matinee or evening it’s that entertaining. If you have children I recommend you schedule a family movie night. Go enjoy laughing along with your kids as Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy and the rest of the children all come to play in this delightfully charming animated movie.

Comment below if you’ve already seen it and share your thoughts! Join in on the fun of movie watching and be sure to share this post with anyone who you feel would enjoy another one of my Box Office Reviews.

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