No Sesame, All street…The Happytime Murders isn’t your children’s movie.
Directed and produced by Jim Henson’s son, Brian, The Happytime Murders is about a former policeman turned detective who sets out to solve the murders of a 1980’s popular puppet TV show. As one by one the former cast members are murdered, Phil Phillips (a puppet) must work with his former partner, Detective Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy) and his former flame, Jenny (Elizabeth Banks) while the FBI sets out to prove he’s the puppet who murdered them all.
The puppets are second-class citizens in this movie’s world. They are beaten up, ignored and are forced to sing and dance on the street corners for cash. Phil lost his badge when he missed a shot on another puppet who held a gun to his partner and was drummed out of the force. His guilt over the incident has left a scar and made him weary of people.
The Happytime Murders is anything but happy. These puppets are raunchy, not even PG-13 but totally R-rated. It’s over the top how they have portrayed them with sugar addictions, strange porn habits and anger management issues. The storyline and world creation has a touch of Who Framed Rodger Rabbit but without any of the good lines or artistry. Happytime launches from one sexual innuendo to the next, rather than creating any depth to the characters. Melissa McCarthy comes off as a sad and angry woman. She spends most of the movie yelling and swearing at someone or snorting candy sprinkles.
Since this movie was produced as well by Melissa McCarthy and her husband, you know it will feature her as the lead, and will have Maya Rudolph as a character in addition to a sneak peek at Melissa’s husband, Ben Falcone in a scene. It was the only joke I laughed at. Melissa is leaving the station after being suspended and tells off each of the officers in the office. She tells Ben’s character that she wished she’d have slept with him, and he says, “There’s still time.”
Happytime will appeal to a certain demographic who like movies with a lot of sexual jokes and raunchy comedy but for most, they will be put off by the lack of a storyline and one-dimensional characters. Watch this one on DVD.
Wealth, Romance and Family clashes in this Rom-Com, perfect for a date night!
Based on the first book in the best-selling trilogy by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians is the first Western Production with an only Asian cast. Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is an American-born Chinese NYU economics professor who travels with boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) to his family home in Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. Along the way, she runs aground of his domineering mother and social climbing friends.
Along with Rachel’s and Nick’s story, the movie also showcases Nick’s sister, Astrid (Gemma Chan) and her husband as they struggle to keep their marriage afloat. He’s from a working class family and never felt like he was good enough for the wealthy Young family. Be sure to wait for the mid-credits’ scene for a sneak peek at what might be coming for Astrid’s future.
Rachel's college friend Goh Peik Lin (Awkwafina) and her father, Goh Wye Mun (Ken Jeong- from the Hangover movies) steal the movie. They are the comedy to the romance and provide Rachel support she needs when Nick’s mom (Michelle Yeoh) hits Rachel with a big surprise.
Would Crazy Rich Asians be as successful if it was about wealthy Americans? Or another ethnic group? Probably not. The over the top wealth and lifestyle of these Singapore families goes as far as having a bachelorette party on a private island with free shopping. The way that social media spreads like wildfire and how mean girls can be to each other is shocking but so true. It will be interesting to see if they make a second movie, after all, the books are at the top of the New York Times lists.
Crazy Rich Asians is fairly clean. There are a few moments of underwear shots and making out. However, this movie is not for the younger audience and it probably won’t appeal to the guys. But if you are looking for a movie to see with your girlfriends, this is it. As well, it’s perfect for a date night. Guys- your girls will love the romance and she’ll leave with a glow!
Jaws on steroids, The Meg was a fun adventure movie with plenty of action and some interesting surprises.
When Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) was forced to leave men behind when his underwater rescue mission goes sideways, his career, marriage and sanity are damaged because of his claims that an extra-large shark attacked the Navy’s nuclear submarine. When a new underwater research team funded by an American billionaire (Rainn Wilson) becomes stranded at the bottom of the ocean floor, Jonas is asked to save the team which includes his ex-wife (Jessica McNamee).
The research team inadvertently lets the 75-foot prehistoric shark out of the ocean floor where it was trapped by a super freezing layer of gas which mimicked the bottom and had kept the Megalodon from being discovered. There are certainly flaws in the science of this movie since it’s not really possible that the large shark could survive in such a small area without the larger predators he needs for survival.
A Chinese and American production, it was interesting to see how the billionaire was portrayed as an over the top, goofy person more interested in money and lawsuits than people. Was this how the Chinese filmmakers see Americans? Or one in particular? One moment which was over the top silly and parents of teenage boys will “get” was when the two geeky scientists snickered over the word “inserted” each time it was used. It reminded me of the one year my boys kept saying “Poop” at Thanksgiving dinner.
Jason Statham played his typical sexy and thrilling super military guy. The character was much like many of the other characters he’d played, sexy but also a total bossy, super military man who could handle everything thrown at him including the sass of a 8-year-old (Sophia Cai) and her sexy mother (Bingbing Li). The budding romance between Jonas and the daughter of the chief scientist shows up with her being sarcastic to him and him saving her life more than once.
A great supporting cast with recently named as Catwoman actress-Ruby Rose and Masi Oka from Hawaii 5-O, keeps the storyline flowing. But Meiling (Sophia Cai)- the young daughter steals the movie with her honest insights into life because in her words, no one realizes she listens to all they say in front of her. Her screen time with Statham is sweet and I believe his character fell in love with the little girl before noticing her mother!
With many nods to Jaws and even a throwaway line about Shark Week, the Meg is sure to delight fans of big action movies, much like the Rock’s San Andreas or Rampage. With the fear factor and a quite a few deaths (after all, this is a shark movie), The Meg is not for younger audiences, although for me the moment I almost cried at involved the death of a whale and not a human. Just don’t expect a great plot- go for the action.
Disney knows how to do a family movie.
Christopher Robin is the tale of a grown up Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) who has left his childhood and friends (Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger) behind. He’s faced boarding school, a world war, marriage and parenthood. As an adult he’s being asked to put his job before his family- grow up and be a man. He’s been taught to put fun and laughter in the past. His marriage and his relationship with his daughter are in jeopardy. But when Christopher is at his lowest, his friend, Pooh, returns with his own crisis, forcing Christopher to return to the Hundred Acre Wood to find the rest of the gang.
Not to be confused with the 2017 movie, Goodbye Christopher Robin, this one is a funny and heartwarming tale of what’s really important--family and fun. Christopher must learn the hard way that fun is important in life and that childhood friends can last forever. The many nods to the original Winnie the Pooh cartoons will entertain those who fell in love with the bear with a small brain and a big heart. From Tigger’s song to the happiness from a red balloon, Christopher Robin will have viewers nodding. Disney even ties in the traditional opening of flipping through the pages of a book.
With voices from Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond), Jim Cummings (Every Cartoon in the last 20 years), and Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who), Christopher Robin has modern artists voicing characters who have been around for almost 50 years and, you believe they are really the original people. Even with the heavy message, there are plenty of humorous moments as Pooh is able to speak to anyone, sending a few people to crash.
Unlike Mission Impossible, the biggest chase scene features a girl riding a bike to get to her father before his big presentation. And unlike the upcoming movie The Meg, the only body part lost is Eeyore’s tail and only temporarily. The slow pace is great for children but might put some viewers to sleep. Another problem for children is the scrolling of sentences explaining things passing in Christopher’s life. Children who can’t read won’t know when his father dies nor understand. They will only be interested in having their own Tigger to bounce around, anyway.
As this summer ends, Christopher Robin is a movie for the whole family and one which will be enjoyed by everyone. A perfect “going back to school film” for families.
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