Chips – Review

The transition from television to major motion picture can be tricky to make. We have an expectation from the characters because we have become familiar with them by watching their hijinks every week on tv. So, how does one take a television franchise about the California Highway Patrol and turn it into a major motion picture? Let’s find out in this review of “CHIPS.”


The story was adjusted from the original television show that ran from 1977-1983. This iteration has an undercover agent of the FBI and a motorcycle stunt man leading the charge. Both characters have their own unique issues they are trying to come to terms with in this film. Writer/Director Dax Shepard said in an interview on the Nerdist Podcast that he was trying to make a film akin to “Lethal Weapon.” While I can see where he was attempting to go, the overall delivery fell short of that movie. The characters felt partly developed and overstated. By that, I mean, they felt more like caricatures instead of believable people in their situation. The dialogue for both the leads indicated that some research had gone into developing these two leads. The manner in which they’d discuss addiction, for example, told me that an honest attempt was made on making a quality film. That all being said, the overall product did not deliver.


The one concern I have going into theaters to see a comedy is that the funniest parts of the film are in the trailers leading up to the release. I am happy to report that this film still had some laugh out loud moments not in the trailers. However, that alone is not enough to save this film. There’s also some dark moments in this story, again, indicating that this was meant to be better than it turned out to be. When fingers get blown off, my jaw dropped. That was a surprise and a well placed surprise at that. Additionally, Vincent D’Onofrio played the villain but more importantly he used his own voice. The last two characters he played he altered his voice. Thankfully, we get normal sounding Vincent. His performances are generally always entertaining so I don’t want to elaborate more on his performance in this film. I was simply commenting on the fact he used his normal voice and that was a pleasant break from what he has been doing.


CHIPS” Is in theaters now! Don’t see this movie in theaters. It’s not worth the ticket price or concessions that go along with the price of a ticket. I will say that if you find yourself relaxing on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and it comes on or is rented at Redbox than give it a shot. It’s not a terrible film but it does fail where I believe it was supposed to deliver. All in all, keep your expectations low, pour yourself a drink, whatever that might be, kick your feet up and don’t be surprised if you nap periodically throughout the movie while lounging in the comforts of your own home.


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.


Box Office Review: Black Mass

Murder, drugs, Jai Alai, the Irish, the Italians, Senators, the FBI, DEA, IRA, police, prostitutes, 1970’s Boston, Miami and an incredible ensemble of talented actors all participating in the telling of real life crime lord James “Whitey” Bulger. If you’re looking for a film that has everything from corruption to redemption this might be it.

It starts with Kevin Weeks (Jessie Plemons) stating, on the record, that he isn’t an informant or rat and he is strictly doing business. This is important because it references to something later revealed in the film. From there the audience is thrown into the movie with story telling split between the “present day” and previous events. A story telling device that works to keep the plot moving and it allows the story to jump forward in time without missing a beat. The audience is introduced to topics and events and then we jump back to see them brilliantly acted out.

Johnny Depp’s portrayal of “Whitey” Bulger, nefarious and ruthless crime lord, was chilling. The steady ease in which he delivers his lines only to then murder people leaves you believing everything on screen. His methods of murder change so keep your eyes open. Cold and determined, loyal to his family and childhood friends until the end, this character is developed and intriguing to watch.

In fact, every character was so believable that the audience should enjoy the film without being pulled out by poor acting or distractions. The only thing that seemed a bit off was the wispy soft voice and accent of Senator Billy Bulger (Benedict Cumberbatch), Whitey’s brother. The accent was believable however it was gentle in comparison to the other male counterparts in the film. A rough and tumble group of male actors who were either criminals or law enforcement, the audience was treated to men of determined spirits, be they just or unjust. This allowed for Billy Bulger to stand out as his speech was more subdued.

FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) was probably the performance of the film. The changes he shows from being a confident and smooth talking agent to the despair and panic as he sees the case unravelling was award worthy. Connolly had the largest arc in terms of character development. You could see the change not just in his mannerisms but in his expressions and ability to silver tongue his colleagues. If you had any trouble picking up on it there’s a brief mention during a conversation with his wife to firmly establish his is the performance to watch.

Scott Cooper directed this film and he has an impressive list of films under his belt. His talents as a director are obvious as this film leaves little to question. The art, the clothes, the design of the houses, the cars, the attitudes are all reminiscent of a time now gone. He had a power house cast to work with and he delivered on getting the best performance from each actor.

This film is rated R for good reason. There’s violence a plenty that leaves little to the imagination. The language is also stereotypical of what you’d expect Boston street thugs to sound like. If you enjoy gangster films you will not be disappointed.

Black Mass” isn’t a special effects driven movie but the actors are all so wonderful it warrants a theater screening. This might be the film that ushers in “Oscar Season” or it might be the warm up, it’s that good. The tension that builds between Whitey and the FBI all the way into the finale is intense and once the film resolves you sit back, exhale and smile because you know what you just watched was a quality film.

I give it two thumbs up and encourage everyone to play “8 Degrees of Separation with Kevin Bacon” because he’s also in this film.

If you’ve already seen it, please comment below and share your thoughts!