The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)

Director: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan

Writer: Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern, John Whittington (Screenplay) Hilary Winston, Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Abbi Jacobson

 

Plot: Shunned by everyone for being the son of an evil warlord, a teenager seeks to defeat him with the help of his fellow ninjas.


Tagline – Find Your Inner Piece

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good for the Kids

 

Story: The Lego Ninjago Movie starts in the city of Ninjago, where evil genius Garmadon is always putting the city through terror as he is looking to rule the city with his attacks, stopping him are a group of mysterious ninja, whose identity is revealed early on to be Lloyd, the son of Garmadon and his school friends, looking to keep the peace in the city.

With the guidance of Master Yu, Lloyd must learn his place in the world after Garmadon’s latest attack leaves the city in ruin because Lloyd was planning to make a move against his own father Garmadon, now Lloyd must make up for his own mistake and save the city.

 

Thoughts on The Lego Ninjago Movie

 

Characters – Master Yu is the leader of the ninjas trying to protect the city, he has trained them for years because of his own connection to the evil Garmadon. Lloyd is the teenager trying to fit in the world, he wants to get to know his father Garmadon whose action cause him to get hated in the land, he is fighting back with his close friends trying to teach him how he needs his father. Garmadon is the evil villain that wants control of the city, he always thinks of new ideas and always seems to fail, he is Lloyd’s father though he has never been around for him. Lloyd has a group of friends which are fellow ninjas that help defend the city.

StoryThe story here takes us to a new Lego world, one with ninjas, as we follow a son seeking acceptance from his father who is trying to conquer the city his son lives in. this does have a message about a father son relationship, getting over the regrets of the past and learn about people’s flaws. This does feel like a safe with a villain trying to conquer a city and the reluctant heroes trying to stop him. It does have glimpses of Megamind and just lacks the magic of the original Lego movie.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action is large scale battles between the Lego figure which is simple and works for each location our characters find themselves on this adventure to save their world. the comedy is basic at best which disappoints through the film and it wouldn’t be appealing to the whole family, with the younger audience getting much more than the older out of this.

SettingsThe film puts us in another Lego setting with the outskirts being any location we have seen in most Asian cinema of forests of the unknown perils.

AnimationThe animation is good for the most part, though it does struggle the mix the animation between the real life cat involved in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The true purpose of life discovery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The cat reminds me too much of the South Park guinea pig episode.

Final ThoughtsThis is one that the kids could enjoy easily even though it doesn’t come close to the levels of the Lego Movie.

 

Overall: Kids will be entertained.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Crime – C – CHIPS (2017)

Director: Dax Shepard

Writer: Dax Shepard (Screenplay)

Starring: Dax Shepard, Michael Pena, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rosa Salazar, Jessica McNamee, Adam Brody, Isiah Whitlock Jr

 

Plot: A rookie officer is teamed with a hardened pro at the California Highway Patrol, though the newbie soon learns his partner is really an undercover Fed investigating a heist that may involve some crooked cops.


Tagline – Chip Happens

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Insulting Comedy

 

Story: CHIPS starts as an undercover FBI agent Ponch (Pena) must joining the California Highway Patrol undercover with rookie officers Jon (Shepard) being his partner as Ponch must discover who is the dirty cop in the unit.

As the two are clearly complete opposites and Jon is the only one in the department that Ponch could trust to uncover the truth about the string of robberies.

 

Thoughts on CHIPS

 

Characters – Ponch is the FBI agent that is known for getting the cases closed even if the methods go across the lines, his latest case is becoming part of CHIPS to uncover a string of robberies that is believed to involve the members in the force. Joon is the former stunt man that wants to fix his marriage by joining the CHIPS team, he has had multiply injuries and will do anything to try and keep the job proving his worth to the force. These two are both very different and must put aside their difference to solve the crime. Ray Kruz is the main villain running the operation from within the force. We get plenty of different officers or agents from different levels of the police system which shows us who we will be dealing with through the film.

PerformancesThis is hard because saying anything bad about Michael Pena is upsetting, here he doesn’t hit the comedy we know he can and as for Dax Shepard we must be blaming him more because he wrote, directed and starred in this insulting comedy, we know he is good when given the right material, here he only lets us down. The rest of the cast just don’t get any moments to shine.

StoryThe story here follows two unlikely cops that must work together to uncover who is behind a string of crimes from within the force. This is the simple part of the film, the problems start mounting up easily and quickly, first the humour is insulting for anything that happens as the characters are left doing sex, poop and more lazy sexist jokes. Considering this was a popular TV shows, I feel the creator must feel insulted with what we are given, this fails on capturing any of the Starsky and Hutch or 21 Jump Street humour we enjoyed and just becomes boring quickly, not adding any mystery to who is behind the crimes either.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action in this film is lazy even if it is the only highlight of the film with a couple of the chases being the most interesting part of the film. the comedy is an insult to comedy while the crime world shows us only police corruption.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, I think mostly to use the sewer system for the chases otherwise it could have been any city.


Scene of the Movie –
Bike chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the comedy movies you really should never be watching, it doesn’t get any laughs and just ends up being left feeling insulting.

 

Overall: This is why we don’t have comedy hits anymore.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – W – World Trade Center (2006)

Director: Oliver Stone

Writer: Andrew Berloff (Screenplay) John McLoughlin, Donna LcLoughlin, William Jimeno, Allison Jimeno (True Story)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maria Bello, Jay Hernandez, Jon Bernthal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: Two Port Authority police officers become trapped under the rubble of the World Trade Center.


Tagline – A True Story Of Courage And Survival

Runtime: 2 Hour 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Drama

 

Story: World Trade Center starts like every other day for police officers John McLoughlin (Cage) who sets the assignments for his department which include Will Jimeno (Pena) and Dominick Pezzulo (Hernandez). Today is going to change their lives, today is September 11th the day the World Trade Centers Twin Twos get hit by the planes, while being part of the rescue team the crew find themselves trapped.

When the dust settles Will and John are the only ones still alive with their loved ones Donna McLoughlin (Bello) and Allison Jimeno (Gyllenhaal) waiting to hear if they were in the towers when they went down. The two must support each other in hope that they would get rescued as New York and America comes together to rescue their own.

 

Thoughts on World Trade Center

 

Characters – All the characters in this film are based on real people, we have real victims from 9/11 being portrayed. John McLoughlin is the experience police officer that leads his men into the Twin Towers in a rescue attempt, he is a father of four which is one of his greatest motivations to survive once he becomes trapped in the rubble. Will Jimeno is the fellow officer that becomes trapped with John, he is a parent too with a second on the way, he is injured but uses the company of John to stay awake. We do have the wives and loved ones and fellow officers that helped in the rescues to being portrayed here showing the heroes involved on those days.

PerformancesNicolas Cage shows in this role that he still was a brilliant performer along with Michael Pena stepped to a leading role. We have fantastic performances from the whole cast if we are being honest.

StoryThe events of this day shocked the world like no other events, the stories of the survivors being found was a race for hope for anyone who might have had someone in the towers. We do focus on just two officers that became trapped as they fought to survive while waiting for rescue. Watching how the rescuers worked to save people trapped, the family waiting helplessly for news on their families, add this together and you get a powerful drama that showed the heroics during that tragic event.

History/ThrillerThe events of this movie are one of the most if not the most famous terrorist attack in modern history, seeing how the two officers just had to rely on hope to survive shows us just how the country was bought together to find a people which does make this edge of your seat waiting to see if they make it or not.

SettingsJohn and Will are trapped for the most part of this movie, it shows how hopeless the situation looked for the men, outside we see the aftermath of the attack.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the movie are fantastic to show the horror of the moment the towers came crashing down on the people inside to the surviving in the rumble and re-creation of the devastation.


Scene of the Movie –
For the visual the collapse is shocking to watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is still hard to watch because of the shock of the event.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful drama that shows how the city came together during the time of need.

 

Overall: This is a must watch but it is hard to re-live those moments.

Rating

 

 

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Director: Peyton Reed

Writer: Chris McKenna, Erick Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Walton Goggins, Hannah John-Kamen, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas

 

Plot: As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.


Tagline – Real heroes. Not actual size.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Forgettable

 

Story: Ant-Man and the Wasp starts as we learn Scott (Rudd) is under house arrest after getting involved during Captain America Civil War, his time is nearly up and he has no communication with Hank (Douglas) or Hope (Lilly). After getting a message through the quantum realm Hank and Hope take Paul to help them locate Janet (Pfeiffer) who they believe is still alive in there.

The idea is to go in and save her, only weapons dealer Sonny Birch (Goggins) wants the equipment to sell on the market and the mysterious Ava (John-Kamen) wants the energy to save her life. What follows is the team coming together to get the best of both worlds.

 

Thoughts on Ant-Man and the Wasp

 

Characters – Scott Lang is no longer aloud to be Ant-Man under house arrest for his action, he has started a business and tries to entertain his daughter within the house. He gets information which could save Janet, Hank’s wife and must risk staying ahead of the FBI to help, his joke timing is very hit or miss though. Hope is now the Wasp, a flying superhero with the same size shaping abilities as Ant-Man, she is getting the equipment together for the rescue attempt and handles most of the best fighting from the good team. Hank wants to save his wife and is willing to put differences aside, Dr Foster is the former partner of Hank’s that has theories that could help. Ava is the deadliest villain, she is a young woman that was a victim of quantum effects making her life constant pain, she wants to end it, she has been a ghost for SHEILD for years now. Luis the most entertaining character in the film by far, he gets laughs in every scene, gives natural reaction to the situations and could easily have his own movie. Sonny Birch is a weapons dealer, generic as they come.

PerformancesPaul Rudd is fine in the leading role, he doesn’t seem to have the chemistry with the cast for the comedy though, not his fault, its more the character. Evangeline Lilly gets to have he good fight scenes showing off her character but the rest of solid enough. Douglas, Fishburne and Pfeiffer are ok, but they are mostly just trying to keep their names in big movies. Michael Pena is the scene stealer by a long way. Walton Goggins, well people said his character in Tomb Raider was generic, this is worse, he has nothing to work with. Hannah John-Kamen plays the most interesting character but struggles to make us either care or hate her character.

StoryThe story here takes place 2-years after the events of Captain America Civil War, Scott is paying for being involved in that fight and now Hank needs his help to save his long thought of lost wife. Them being criminals now doesn’t make this easy as they must operate in secret which brings the attentions of other people that want the technology. This story is set over 2 days, the 2 days before Scott has his house arrest finishing, which gives the film a race against time and needing to make sure Scott is in his home whenever the FBI turn up. The science does make this hard to follow in places and the tone of the story does fill mix, Scott and Luis are always hitting jokes, but most of the rest of the story feels like it should be a lot darker.

Action/Adventure/Sci-fiThe action is the basics to what we would have come to expect, the fights with ghost are the highlights of the action. The adventure is trying to keep ahead of the FBI even after there is no evidence he is leaving the house. The sci-fi side of the film can easily go over heads, because of all the scientific conversations.

SettingsThe film keeps the action in San Francisco which is fine, we know the iconic location there which get used at times through the film, it is the quantum realm which is the most beautiful and haunting places to visit.

Special EffectsThe effects for the film can’t be faulted in anyway, they look fantastic and the scaling abilities all work for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
End credits scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It felt like Scott was telling jokes, rather than being naturally funny, like Thor.

Final ThoughtsThis is largely forgettable from Marvel, not because it is bad, but because it follows Infinity War, which is the only film we want to see the next chapter of right now in this universe.

 

Overall: Pay check sequel for Disney.

Rating

 

 

Extinction (2018)

Director: Ben Young

Writer: Eric Heisserer, Spenser Cohen, Brad Kane (Screenplay)

Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Michael Pena, Mike Colter, Emma Booth, Israel Broussard, Tom Riley, Lilly Aspell

 

Plot: A father has a recurring dream of losing his family. His nightmare turns into reality when the planet is invaded by a force bent on destruction. Fighting for their lives, he comes to realize an unknown strength to keep them safe from harm.


Tagline – We were not here first.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sci-Fi With a Twist

 

Story: Extinction starts as we meet Peter (Pena) a happily married man to Alice (Caplan), with two daughters Hanna (Crouch) and Lucy (Tremblay), he is struggling with nightmares of an invasion which sees him needing to protect his family, the problem is they are starting to take over his life, putting his own personal life in danger.

With Alice about to give up on Peter, the attack from his dreams starts, now he must piece together his dreams like a puzzle to help his family get out alive.

 

Thoughts on Extinction

 

Characters – Peter has been suffering from nightmares of an alien invasion, his family are worried about him, his co-workers are too, he doesn’t know how to read his nightmares, until the attack starts. He uses the nightmares as a guide to survive against the alien invaders proving he can fight, kill and protect his family. Peter is the reluctant hero making decisions that are risky for the rest of the survivors. Alice is the wife of Peter, she sees him in trouble and is getting tired of seeing him suffer, she sees the problems but once the attack starts she will do everything to protect her children. The kids are your generic, we have the rebellious teenage daughter and the younger innocent one that is trapped in the middle. We do also have people that are helping with the survival, they are mostly guides not doing too much.

PerformancesMichael Pena in the leading role is strong throughout, he gives us an everyman action performance where he believes his kids are what is important. Lizzy Caplan is good in her role without needing to letting Pena take all of the spotlight. The rest of the cast are good enough for the film.

StoryThe story here follows one man who is suffering nightmares of an alien invasion which will see his family in danger. We tease the idea that this could just be in his head, until an attack starts. We get to follow the generic save the family from the attackers storyline which works enough. The story does have a third act twist which turns everything on its head and makes you re-think what you have seen so far.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi world created shows us being in the future with the technology, the attack shows future weapons too.

SettingsThe film is set in generic city in the future, it has tall building and surrounded by trees, this is all we see for location.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most part were good, that was until the final shot which looked awful.


Scene of the Movie –
The twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That final shot nearly kills the movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sci-fi film that does work well for the and the twist in the third act does make it feel fresh.

 

Overall: Sci-fi film saved by its twist.

Rating