REVIEW: THE EMOJI MOVIE

Starring

T.J. Miller (Deadpool)
James Corden (Into The Woods)
Anna Faris (Mom)
Maya Rudolph (The Good Place)
Steven Wright (Loser)
Jennifer Coolidge (2 Broke Girls)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Christina Aguilera (Life of The Party)
Sofía Vergara (The Smurfs)
Sean Hayes (Will & Grace)
Jake T. Austin (Justice League vs Teen Titans)
Tati Gabrielle (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
Carlos Alazraqui (Family Guy)
John Kassir (Tales From The Crypt Keeper)
Josh Keaton (Young Justice)
Phil LaMarr (Justice League)
Tara Strong (Sabrina Goes To Rome)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)

James Corden, Anna Faris, and T.J. Miller in The Emoji Movie (2017)Gene is an emoji that lives in Textopolis, a digital city inside the phone of his user Alex. He is the son of two meh emojis named Mel and Mary, and is able to make multiple expressions despite his parents’ upbringing. His parents are hesitant of him going to work, but Gene insists so that he can feel useful. Upon receiving a text from his crush Addie, Alex decides to send her an emoji. When Gene is selected, he panics, makes a panicked expression, and wrecks the text center. Gene is called in by Smiler, a smiley emoji and leader of the text center, who concludes that Gene is a “malfunction” and therefore must be deleted. Gene is chased by bots, but is rescued by Hi-5, a once popular emoji who has since lost his fame due to lack of use. He tells Gene that he can be fixed if they find a hacker, and Hi-5 accompanies him so that he can reclaim his fame.T.J. Miller in The Emoji Movie (2017)Smiler sends more bots to look for Gene when she finds out that he has left Textopolis, as his actions have caused Alex to think that his phone needs to be fixed. Gene and Hi-5 come to a piracy app where they meet a hacker emoji named Jailbreak, who wants to reach Dropbox so that she can live in the cloud. The trio is attacked by Smiler’s bots, but manage to escape into the game Candy Crush. Jailbreak reveals that Gene can be fixed in the cloud, and the group goes off into the Just Dance app. While there, Jailbreak is revealed to be a princess emoji who fled home after tiring of being stereotyped. They are once again attacked by bots, and their actions cause Alex to delete the Just Dance app. Gene and Jailbreak escape, but Hi-5 is taken along with the app and ends up in the trash.Patrick Stewart, James Corden, Anna Faris, and T.J. Miller in The Emoji Movie (2017)Mel and Mary go searching for Gene and have a very lethargic argument. They make up in the Instagram app when Mel reveals that he, too, is a malfunction, explaining Gene’s behavior. While traveling through Spotify, Jailbreak admits that she likes Gene just the way he is, and that he should not be ashamed of his malfunction. The two start to fall in love and Gene silently debates his choice to change himself. They make it to the trash and rescue Hi-5, but are soon attacked by a bot upgraded with illegal malware. They evade it by entangling its arms and enter Dropbox, where they encounter a firewall. After many tries, the gang get past it with a password being Addie’s name and make it to the cloud, where Jailbreak prepares to reprogram Gene. Gene admits his feelings for Jailbreak, but she wishes to stick to her plan of venturing into the cloud, unintentionally causing Gene to revert to his apathetic programming out of heartbreak. Suddenly, the upgraded bot sneaks into the cloud and captures Gene, prompting Hi-5 and Jailbreak to go after him with a Twitter bird summoned by Jailbreak in her princess form.T.J. Miller and Jude Kouyate in The Emoji Movie (2017)As Smiler prepares to delete Gene, Mel and Mary arrive. Mel reveals to everyone that he is also a malfunction, prompting Smiler to threaten deleting him as well. Jailbreak and Hi-5 arrive and disable the bot, which falls on top of Smiler. Alex has since taken his phone to a store in hopes that a factory reset performed by technical support would restore his phone’s functionality, which would entail total destruction of Gene’s world should such operation complete. Out of desperation, Gene prepares to have himself texted to Addie, making numerous faces to express himself. Realizing that Addie received a text from him, Alex cancels the factory reset just as it nearly finishes, saving the emoji and finally getting to speak with Addie, who likes the emoji Alex sent. Gene accepts himself for who he is and is celebrated by all of the emojis. In a mid-credits scene, Smiler has been relegated to the “loser lounge” with the other unused and forgotten emojis for her crimes, wearing numerous braces due to her teeth being cracked by the bot, and playing and losing a game of Go Fish.Anna Faris and T.J. Miller in The Emoji Movie (2017)I know it’s really fun to bash this movie, but speaking honestly, I have to say this movie was okay. The story is predictable, the twist was not surprising, the romance between Gene and Jailbreak felt forced, and I didn’t care for the humans, but the story at least had structure and competency, and was consistent. The majority of the humor is weak and immature, especially with the Poop Emoji. Some of the gags managed to make me chuckle, not laugh but I did find enjoyment. The animation is good, it’s colorful and energetic, and there are some creative scenes, even with the product placement scenes. However the designs of the Emojis are really, really simplistic and some are even creepy. The characters are not interesting. Gene is the same old “I wan’t to fit in” character, and the other characters are also the same old tropes as well. The characters also have their developments presented in the most generic way possible. The characters that stand out for me is the villain and Gene’s parents. Mostly because they supply the best comedy and the villain has an this crazy personality that kept me active. The Emoji Movie is a meh film that’s suited to entertain kids.

REVIEW: HIT AND RUN (2012)

CAST

Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Dax Sheperd (Zathura)
Tom Arnold (True Lies)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
Michael Rosenbaum (smallville)
Jess Rowland (The Princess Diaries 2)
Bradley Cooper (Joy)
Joy Bryant (Bobby)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Ryan Hansen (2 broke Girls)
Beau Bridges (Stargate Atlantis)
Jason Bateman (Identity Thief)
Sean Hayes (Will & Grace)
Steve Agee (Superstore)

Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard) is enrolled in the Witness Protection Program, staying in Milton, California under the supervision of incompetent U.S. Marshal Randy Anderson (Tom Arnold). Charlie’s girlfriend Annie Bean (Kristen Bell) is a professor at Milton Valley College and has a doctorate in Non-Violent Conflict Resolution from Stanford University, a major she created herself. Annie’s supervisor Debbie Kreeger (Kristin Chenoweth) calls Annie in for a meeting, where she tells her that the University of California is starting a Conflict Resolution program and is interested in interviewing her. The interview is scheduled for Wednesday in Los Angeles at 4:00; Annie balks at the idea saying she needs to talk to her boyfriend about it first, until Debbie tells her to live for herself instead of boyfriends, and that she will be fired if she does not make it to the interview. A perplexed Annie returns home and tells Charlie of the job interview, upsetting him since Los Angeles is the area he lived in prior to enrolling in Witness Protection and can’t return to. Charlie insists Annie interview for the job for her own sake, even though he would be unable to follow her, but Annie instead returns to the college the next day to beg to keep her job. While she is gone, Charlie decides he would return to L.A. after all, and picks up Annie in his souped-up, restored Lincoln Continental, promising to take her to her interview.
Before they leave town Annie realizes that the teaching certificate she needs is at the home of her ex-boyfriend Gil Rathbinn (Michael Rosenbaum). She had previously told Gil that Charlie is in Witness Protection, and he urges Annie not to go with Charlie, who he is certain is a criminal who will chop her up. Annie blows him off and leaves with Charlie; Gil memorizes Charlie’s license plate and asks his gay police officer brother Terry (Jess Rowland) to look up the plate, who finds that the vehicle is registered to “Yul Clint Perkins” — Charlie’s real name. Gil uses the name to look up Charlie’s past, discovering he is a former getaway driver who testified in an ultimately unsuccessful bank robbery case against his accomplices, one of whom shot the bank guard. Gil finds the Facebook page of one of the defendants, Alexander Dmitri (Bradley Cooper), and leaves a message saying he knows where Yul Perkins is for the next 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Randy calls Charlie after discovering he is not home. Charlie tells him he is returning to L.A., and Randy insists on accompanying him per Marshals Service policy, leaving Milton in order to pursue Charlie. A short time later Charlie and Annie discover Gil following them in his vehicle. Charlie pulls over, intending to beat up Gil, but instead tries to non-violently resolve the situation at Annie’s insistence. Gil is unmoved, and reveals that he both knows Charlie’s real name and has Alex Dmitri as a “Facebook friend”. Charlie and Annie then flee from Gil in the Continental, in the process running Randy off the road as he arrives, but ultimately losing Gil. Elsewhere, Alex sees Gil’s Facebook message, gathers his fellow bank robbers Neve (Joy Bryant) and Alan (Ryan Hansen) and heads to meet Gil.
Annie and Charlie gas up the Continental, where the vehicle’s engine is admired by a redneck named Sanders (David Koechner). The two then make their way to a motel, where they are unknowingly followed by Sanders. In the morning, Charlie tries to start the vehicle, only to discover that the engine has been stolen in the night. Gil arrives shortly after, ambushing Charlie with a golf club, but Charlie distracts him and knocks him out, placing him in his vehicle. He quickly discovers that Gil was also accompanied by Alex’s crew, who are at the front desk. Charlie grabs the VIN Number of a Corvette in the parking lot, makes a duplicate keyless entry for the vehicle using the former tools of his trade, and then leaves with Annie, Gil and Alex’s crew in hot pursuit, with Randy joining the chase. During the chase Annie and Charlie argue over his past, where he reveals that he was a getaway driver who participated in 13 bank robberies, and that Neve was once his fiancee. The two ultimately escape their pursuers again.
Afterward, Annie demands Charlie pull over, where she confronts him for lying to her about his past. She decides to proceed to L.A. without Charlie; Gil arrives shortly after, and agrees to take Annie the rest of the way. A short time later they are run off the road by Alex, who takes Annie hostage and calls Charlie, telling him to meet at a nearby diner. Charlie arrives and Alex demands money in exchange for Annie, then argues about Charlie’s betrayal, cut short when Alex reveals that he was raped in jail and blames Charlie for it. Charlie agrees to take him to a hidden stash of bank robbery money located at the home of his estranged father Clint (Beau Bridges). While in transit he surreptitiously places a call to Randy, now in the company of Terry (who’s attracted to Randy) and his partner Angela Roth (Carly Hatter), and gives Randy his father’s address. The three pick up Gil along the way.

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At Clint’s house, Charlie digs up a bag of money he hid in a pasture with his father, at the same time reconciling with him. His father carefully mentions he owns a Class 1 Off-Road racing vehicle; shortly after he knocks Alex down with a shovel, then fights with Alan as Charlie and Annie make their escape. The two get in the racer and flee just as Gil, Randy, Terry and Angela arrive. Alex and Neve attempt to follow, but Randy manages to shoot Alex as the latter fires at Charlie, forcing them to stop and placing the two under arrest. Two Marshals (Jason Bateman and Nate Tuck) later arrive and take Alex and his crew into custody, complimenting Randy and Terry on their work. After their escape, Charlie tells Annie he is committed to getting her to the interview still, wanting to keep his word despite the fact that she no longer loves him. Annie responds that she still loves him, and the two reconcile before continuing the trip. Charlie makes it to the University of California campus in time for Annie to make her interview. Before she leaves, Charlie offers to spend the rest of his life with her, which Annie accepts. The final scene cuts some months in the future, showing Randy and Terry, now in a relationship, giving each other a brief pep talk before heading to take the Marshals’ exam.

In a stinger segment, Annie makes her interview with Professor Sandy Osterman (Sean Hayes), interrupting him as he is smoking from a bong. After a rough start due to Osterman’s embarrassment at hotboxing his office and confusion at him not being a woman as Debbie had described, Osterman reveals that Debbie is his sister and she has jokingly called him a girl since he was 9. Annie expresses sympathy for how this must make Sandy feel, earning his approval and an immediate job offer, which she accepts.MV5BMTIwMzE2MjM4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjA1OTY3._V1_The action is fun, the characters are  terrific to spend time with, and the ending is satisfying. If you just go with it and let it surprise you, you’ll have a great time.

REVIEW: WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON!

 

CAST

Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Josh Duhamel (Transformers)
Nathan Lane (The Producers)
Sean Hayes (Will & Grace)
Gary Cole (Crusade)
Ginnifer Goodwin (Walk The Line)
Kathryn Hahn (We’re The Millers)
Octavia Spencer (Insurgent)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)
Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation)
Jordana Brewster (Fast & Furious)
Paris Hilton (Veronica Mars)
Wendy Worthington (Bones)
Patrick Fischler (Happy!)

MV5BMTYyNDY3NzI0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjU0OTQyNA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1528,1000_AL_An old-fashioned comedy geared towards teens, “Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!” didn’t connect with audiences, but this lightweight comedy deserved a bit more of a following. The picture is certainly no classic, but there’s a few appealing performances, clever gags and occasional moments of sharply funny dialogue. The picture stars Kate Bosworth (“Blue Crush”) as Rosalee Futch, a small-town West Virginia cashier smitten with movie star Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel  “Transformers”). When Hamilton’s agents decide that his days of wine and women are over, they come up with a contest idea where one winner will be flown out to go on a date with the actor. Watching from the sidelines is her co-worker, Pete Monash (Topher Grace), who’s never told Rosalee his feelings about her.

While the date goes well, there’s something about the pure, West Virginia goodness of Rosalee that appeals to Tad, prompting him to purchase a place in her small town and spark a war between him and Pete over Rosalee. Standard romantic comedy fare, but played well.

The film’s performances go a fairly long way in pushing the film past the fact that most will feel as if they’ve seen some variation of this story a thousand times. Grace (of “That 70’s Show”) amps up his usual delivery and timing, resulting in some terrifically funny moments.  I greatly enjoyed Bosworth in “Blue Crush”, where she portrayed that character with a great deal of determination and heart. Here, her small town character is sweet and genuine, topped off with Bosworth’s charm and smile.

Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! is a nice, sweet little movie with a few big laughs, fine performances and charm.