Sunday, November 26, 2017

Movie Review: Yellowbird (2014)

Yellowbird (Gus - Petit oiseau, grand voyage)
TeamTO, Haut et Court, La Compagnie Cinématographique, Panache Productions, Rhône-Alpes Cinéma, Belgacom, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Région Rhône-Alpes, Région Ile-de-France, Ciné+, Gulli, Backup Media, Piste Rouge, France, Belgium, 2014.
Yellowbird (Seth Green) is an orphaned bird raised by Ladybug (Yvette Nicole Brown) and family of bunnies. He is afraid to leave home but Ladybug tricks him to go see the world. While outside Yellowbird meets a dying big blue bird Darius (Danny Glover), who needs someone to guide his flock to Africa. The problem is that Yellowbird has no sense of direction.
Yellowbird and Ladybug
The Flock
In the flock there are girl bird Delf (Dakota Fanning), hippie bird Max (Zachary Gordon), Delf's not-boyfriend Willy (Brady Corbet) and his little brother Fleck (Jadon Sand) and a bunch of little birds and their parents. Grouchy Karl (Jim Rash), who wanted to be Darius' follower, doubts Yellowbird's navigational skills for a reason. The migration becomes dangerous as Yellowbird guides the flock in the wrong direction. Also the iron birds (airplanes) are a constant threat to birds who fly too high. At what point should Yellowbird tell that he really has no clue about where they are, and how will the flock react to that and will they survive?
Yellowbird and Delf
The owl
Rabbit family
Euro-animation has nice visuals with European country-side and cartoony characters whose layered paper mimicking design makes them look a bit like piñatas. Especially the flying sequences look pretty. The characters are quite usual for these kind of adventures, but quite likable too. There are couple of romances too that are not too underlined, but bring some interesting extra arcs to the story.

As the "leader" of the flock Yellowbird is kind of goof, but he is inventive too. Some of the funniest side characters are jovial sea lions and an owl (Elliott Gould) who is a sneaky innkeeper. The story has the familiar growing up story with many falls and triumphs and some thrills in a sinking ship. Overall it is a nice little film to watch for both kids and adults.

Rating: Good

Voice actors: Christine Baranski, Yvette Nicole Brown, Brady Corbet, Dakota Fanning, Danny Glover, Zachary Gordon, Elliott Gould, Seth Green, Richard Kind, Ryan Lee, Christopher L. Parson, Cristina Pucelli, Jim Rash, Jadon Sand
Director: Christian De Vita

Monday, November 20, 2017

Movie Review: Superfast!

3 in the Box, The Safran Company, USA, 2015.
Another so called parody from Friedberg/Seltzer.
Very bad.
Maybe I should watch the movie first. 

Lucas White (Alex Ashbaugh) is a white (duh) cop who tries to infiltrate multi-culti street racer gang. Their leader is Vin Serento (Dale Pavinski) with pretty sister Jordana (Lili Mirojnick). Other members are jealous Curtis (Daniel Booko) and not-so-unobviously lesbian Michelle (Andrea Navedo). Against all odds Lucas gains their trust. Crime lord Juan Carlos de la Sol (Omar Chaparro) sets them up and during a shoot-out Lucas accidentally shoots his boss Detective Hanover (Gonzalo Menendez), oops. Vin and the gang plan revenge by robbing crime lord's money. Incredibly stupid Detective Rock Johnson (Dio Johnson) tries to catch the gang but is too busy rubbing baby oil on his muscles.
Alex Ashbaugh
Lucas White
Dale Pavinski, Andrea Navedo, Daniel Booko, Lili Mirojnick
Vin, Michelle Curtis and Jordana

Cesar and Senor de la Sol
"Fast and the Furious" series has grown to such self-parody nowadays that spoofing it is kind of wasted effort. The nonessential plot is modeled from FF parts one and five. There is something funny in the way the stock characters are named as Rapper Cameo, Model Turned Actress and Cool Asian Guy. Also the main gang looked a lot like the originals and Rock-parody was quite fun. Otherwise the jokes were either recycled from better parodies, overlong and unfunny or just gross-out. On the positive side the z-grade celebrity jokes were kept at minimum and the story kept the focus of the parody in one film series. However cheap pop-culture references and pseudo-commercial jokes that are obscure to everyone but Americans are still there. This is not a good movie but considering the cinematic atrocities FriedChicken/AlkaSeltzer duo has put out ("Meet the Spartans" "Epic Movie", "Disaster Movie"...) this is a step to right direction. Maybe the lowest point of parody genre has been reached already. But it is still a thousand mile trip back up.
Dio Johnson
Rock Johnson
Rapper Cameo (Rogelio Douglas Jr.)

Starring: Alex Ashbaugh, Dale Pavinski, Lili Mirojnick, Andrea Navedo, Daniel Booko, Rogelio Douglas Jr., Chris Pang, Omar Chaparro, Joseph Julian Soria, Dio Johnson, Amin Joseph, Cuete Yeska, Gonzalo Menendez, Shantel Wislawski, Luis Chávez, DaJuan Johnson, Alexis Lopez, William Barney, Shakira Barrera, Eric Mccoy, Dres Reid, Christine Clayburg, Chanel Celaya, Mickey Friedberg, Nick Rey Angelus, Chris Trouble Delfosse, Michael Flores, Anthony Martins, Shad Roberts, Rick Silver, Kenny Yates
Directors: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Now and Then Blogathon (Now): Independence Day Resurgence (2016)

Independence Day Resurgence (2016)
Twentieth Century Fox, TSG Entertainment, Centropolis Entertainment, Electric Entertainment, USA, 2016. 
Participating the Now and Then 2017 Blogathon event, arranged by Realweegiemidget Reviews and Thoughts of All Sorts! This is part 2 (Now!) of 2 part post.
20 years have passed since the space alien attack was struck back barely saving the humans from extinction. The ex-President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) suffers from telepathic scars caused by the previous encounter. David Levinson (Jeff Glodblum) and his father Julius (Judd Hirsch) are still around but Will Smith's character is not so fighter pilot ace Steven Hiller had to die in a flight accident. However his son Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher) continues his legacy.
Sela Ward and Bill Pullman
New President Lanford (Sela Ward) and ex-President Whitmore
Jessie T. Usher and Angelababy
Dylan Hiller and Rain Lao
Of the younger generation are also President's daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe) and hotshot pilot Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), and his teammate Charlie Miller (Travis Tope) and Chinese pilot Rain Lao (Angelababy). Dylan and Jake have a drudge, Patricia wants to help her father and Charlie wants a romance with Rain.
Maika Monroe
Patricia Whitmore
Liam Hemsworth
Jake Morrison
Deobia Oparei and Jeff Goldblum
Dikembe Umbutu and David Levinson
New weapons based on alien technologies has been developed and David Levinson is now the Director of Earth Space Defense. Someday the aliens will return...

In Africa guerilla leader Dikembe Umbutu (Deobia Oparei) has been waging war against the remaining aliens. He has invited scientist Catherine Marceaux (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and David to nvestigate strange things happening at stranded spaceship. All points to that a new war is beginning. A continent-sized spaceship appears and uproots whole cities. How can humankind survive this time?
Charlotte Gainsbourg and Jeff Goldblum
Catherine Marceaux and David
Don't park here
Whereas last time the on-screen desruction was still relatively limited, this time Roland Emmerich does so grand scale destruction scenes that physicists rip their hairs off. The alien spaceship has its own gravity and plows half of the Earth while landing. Spectacular, yes, but not very believable. Better to leave the brain out and just enjoy it as a popcorn movie. The story goes on the familiar path of last minute saves, adventures of the survivors, and some new and old friends making sudden appearances. There are some updates to the formula of "Independence Day", last time it was America saving the day, but now in the style of "Pacific Rim" the cast is a more multicultural team of heroes. Couple of budding bromances are there too.

It is nice to have many characters from the first film around, however overall the characterizations feel weaker, as the turbo-charged plot does not allow much character development and lacks the heart and bombastic fun that the prequel had. This is visually impressive with huge spaceships and bigger alien monsters, it is occassionally fun but sacrifices the plot to special effects. With the recent flood of big scifi/superhero films it fits in the trend, but it is just one more spectacular movie in the crowd. Also in the end it is clear that there will be at least a trilogy of these films.

Rating: Average

Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie T. Usher, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Patrick St. Esprit, Vivica A. Fox, Angelababy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Deobia Oparei, Nicolas Wright, Travis Tope, Chin Han, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Robert Loggia, John Storey, Joey King, Jenna Purdy, Garrett Wareing, Hays Wellford, Mckenna Grace, James A. Woods, Robert Neary, Joshua Mikel, Joel Virgel, Arturo del Puerto, Matthew Munroe, Jacob Browne, Ryan Cartwright, Travis Hammer, Lance Lim, Zeb Sanders, Donovan Tyee Smith, Stafford Douglas, Jade Scott Lewis, Beth Bailey, Mona Malec, Omar Diop, Ron Yuan, Grace Huang, Stephen Oyoung, J.P. Murrieta, Casey Messer, Ben Wang, Nicholas Ballas, Jonathan Richards, Ivan G'Vera, Michael Davis, Brandon K. Hampton, Sam Quinn
Director: Roland Emmerich 

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