There's a pop culture entity that can be seen right now that features foulmouthed puppets doing risque things and is an absolute blast for anyone mature enough to handle it. I'm speaking, of course, about "Avenue Q", the Tony-winning musical of consistent popularity that has been playing in New York since 2003. There's also a new movie called "The Happytime Murders" that features foulmouthed puppets doing risque things.
For about a year now, I've been hearing about the impending release of "Crazy Rich Asians." I tried to get into an advance screening last week, but it was sold out on two screens. I was almost shut out of a Wednesday screening this week, but I was able to get one of about a dozen remaining seats with over 90 minutes until showtime. Clearly this was going to be an event movie, and since I knew it was based on a series of books, I likened it to "The Hunger Games" or "Twilight".
Early on in "The Meg", it occurred to me that sharks just aren't very scary. I don't mean this movie's shark (although some unconvincing CGI doesn't help), but all sharks. Their teeth are always so small in proportion to the rest of their mouths that they don't register the way they're supposed to, and their eyes and faces perpetually have this expression that tells me they're just minding their own business.
Sometimes it's best just to stay in one's comfort zone. Believe me, I know all the counterarguments: "Playing it safe is boring," "You'll never get anywhere if you don't push yourself" and of course, "No risk, no reward." "Christopher Robin" takes a risk by taking Winnie the Pooh and his friends out of their familiar setting of the Hundred-Acre Wood and transporting them to the real world. And the whole time I couldn't stop thinking that the characters should have just stayed in the Wood.
Like any proper franchise, "Mission: Impossible" has to up the ante with each new installment. This concept means different things to different people. Maybe it means that Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team are up against their most diabolical villain yet. Maybe it means their challenge is the hardest-to-crack yet. But "Mission: Impossible - Fallout" knows that what the majority of fans want is the best action yet.
Two new releases topped the box office this past weekend with approximately $35 million. I've decided to review both.
"Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again"
I'm not terribly familiar with the ABBA songbook. I know about "Dancing Queen" and of course the title song, but otherwise I just think of ABBA as that one band from Sweden that isn't Europe (they of "The Final Countdown"). But apparently we didn't get enough ABBA in 2008's "Mamma Mia!" so we're getting this sequel to meet... demand?
I did not care for the first two "Hotel Transylvania" movies. Basically I felt that Adam Sandler's style of humor had run its course, and even doing something as unique as applying it to animated monster movies couldn't make it interesting again. Both films got a One and a Half Star rating out of me (the equivalent of a C- now that I use letter grades) and I remember seriously considering giving One Star to the second film. So "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation" was one of the least-anticipated viewings on my summer watchlist.
We last saw Scott "Ant-Man" Lang (Paul Rudd) in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War" where he fought on Cap's side, lost, and went to prison. It was briefly mentioned in this year's "Avengers: Infinity War" that he took a plea deal where he was released in exchange for promising not to do any more superhero work, making him one of the few MCU heroes not to appear in the film. Now we're getting "Ant-Man and the Wasp", where we find out what's been going on in his neck of the woods. Like a response you'd expect from a laid-back casual friend, the answer is "not much."
I never saw 2015's "Sicario" in theaters, I only knew it by its reputation as a movie that was unfairly overlooked at the Oscars that year. I watched the film in preparation for its sequel "Day of the Soldado", and maybe it was because the version I saw was edited for television or maybe it was because I watched it from my comfy bedroom instead of the edge of my seat in a theater, but I have to say I was not impressed.
Back in 2015, "Jurassic World" briefly set the box office record for biggest opening weekend of all time with $208 million before climbing to #3 on the overall domestic chart. It seemed as though people couldn't get enough of dinosaurs chowing down on some arrogant human victims. Now comes "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom", which opened this past weekend to a relatively tame $150 million. People still want to see the dinos, but it's a little less special this time.