Favorite Directors, Actors, Actress, Supporting Roles & Villains

The end of the year doesn’t just mean putting out your best/favorite movies of year. It can be a time to reflect the individuals like directors, actors, actress, supporting roles, villains and everything in between. So, that said, I’m here to do just that. We all have our favorites, and these are mine. This is of course my opinion. I tried to shorten the list as much as I could, but like every year, it was a bit too hard so I left the lists as such.

 

Also, villains are probably considered Supporting Actors/Actress in other lists, but again, to not only make the lists shorter, I want the villains to have their own category, because everyone loves a good villain, right?

 

Finally, everything and everyone will be in alphabetical order. This is also part one of two different lists. Enjoy.

 

 

Directors

Chris McKay – The LEGO Batman Movie

Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk

Denis Villeneuve – Blade Runner 2049

Edgar Wright – Baby Driver

Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

J.A. Bayona – A Monster Calls

James Mangold – Logan

Jordan Peele – Get Out

Patty Jenkins – Wonder Woman

Matt Reeves – War for the Planet of the Apes

Taika Waititi – Thor: Ragnarok

 

Honorable Mentions

Andy Muschietti – It

David F. Sandberg – Annabelle: Creation

Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird

James Franco – The Disaster Artist

Kathryn Bigelow – Detroit

M. Night Shyamalan – Split

Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Steven Soderbergh – Logan Lucky

 

 

Just Missed the List

Ben Wheatley – Free Fire

Craig Gillespie – I, Tonya

Darren Aronofsky – Mother!

James Gunn – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina – Coco

Nacho Vigalondo – Colossal

Michael Showalter – The Big Sick

Ridley Scott – All the Money in the World

 

 

Actors

Andy Serkis as Caesar – War for the Planet of the Apes

Chris Hemsworth as Thor – Thor: Ragnarok

Chris Pine as Steve Trevor – Wonder Woman

Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington – Get Out

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill – Darkest Hour

Hugh Jackman as Logan – Logan

Lewis MacDougall as Conor – A Monster Calls

Michael Fassbender as David and Walter – Alien: Covenant

Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc – The Founder

Sam Rockwell as Dixon – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man – Spider-Man: Homecoming

 

Honorable Mentions

James Franco as Tommy – The Disaster Artist

Richard Jenkins as Giles – The Shape of Water

RJ Cyler as Billy/Blue Ranger – Power Rangers

Ryan Gosling as K – Blade Runner 2049

Ryan Reynolds as Michael & Samuel L. Jackson as Darius – The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly – I, Tonya

Sharlto Copley as Vernon – Free Fire

Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs – Battle of the Sexes

Will Arnett as Batman/Bruce Wayne – The LEGO Batman Movie

Will Poulter as Krauss – Detroit

 

Just Missed the List

Ansel Elgort as Baby – Baby Driver

Armie Hammer as Ord – Free Fire

Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall & Josh Gad as Sam Friedman – Marshall

Chris Evans as Frank Adler – Gifted

Dave Franco as Greg – The Disaster Artist

Jackie Chan as Quan Ngoc Minh – The Foreigner

James McAvoy as David Percival – Atomic Blonde

Jeremy Renner as Cory Lambert – Wind River

Jason Sudeikis as Oscar – Colossal

Javier Bardem as Him – Mother!

Joel Edgerton as Paul – It Comes At Night

Kumail Nanjiani as Kumail – The Big Sick

Mark Rylance as Mr. Dawson – Dunkirk

 

 

Actress

Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke – Split

Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid Thorburn – Ingrid Goes West

Dafne Keen as Laura – Logan

Frances McDormand as Mildred – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Gal Gadot as Diana – Wonder Woman

Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom – Molly’s Game

Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding – I, Tonya

Mckenna Grace as Mary Adler – Gifted

Noomi Rapace as The Settman Siblings – What Happened to Monday

Sally Hawkins as Elisa Esposito – The Shape of Water

Saoirse Ronan as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson – Lady Bird

 

Honorable Mentions

Anne Hathaway as Gloria – Colossal

Emma Stone as Billie Jean King – Battle of the Sexes

Rebecca Hall as Elizabeth Marston – Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

Sophia Lillis as Beverly – It

Talitha Bateman as Janice & Lulu Wilson as Linda – Annabelle: Creation

 

Just Missed the List

Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton – Atomic Blonde

Jennifer Lawrence as Mother – Mother!

Michelle Williams as Gail Harris – All the Money in the World

Seo-hyun Ahn as Mija – Okja

Zoe Kazan as Emily – The Big Sick

Zoe Lister-Jones as Anna – Band Aid

 

 

Supporting Actor

Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty – All the Money in the World

Daniel Craig as Joe Bang – Logan Lucky

Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs & Jason Statham as Deckard – The Fate of the Furious

Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard – Blade Runner 2049

Jacob Batalon as Ned – Spider-Man: Homecoming

Liam Neeson as The Monster (voice) – A Monster Calls

Michael Rooker as Yondu – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Patrick Stewart as Charles – Logan

Samuel L. Jackson as Preston Packard – Kong: Skull Island

 

Honorable Mentions

Cillian Murphy as Shivering Soldier – Dunkirk

Doug Jones as Amphibian Man – The Shape of Water

Demian Bichir as Miguel Alvarez – Lowriders

Domhnall Gleeson as Monty ‘Schafer’ – American Made

LilRel Howery as Rod Williams – Get Out

Nick Offerman as Dick McDonald & John Carroll Lynch as Mac McDonald – The Founder

Paul Walter Hauser as Shawn Eckhardt – I, Tonya

Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth – The LEGO Batman Movie

Shea Whigham as Cole & John C. Reilly as Hank Marlow – Kong: Skull Island

Taika Waititi as Korg & Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk & Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster – Thor: Ragnarok

 

Just Missed the List

Bradley Whitford as Dean Armitage – Get Out

Christopher Meloni as Roger, Ike Barinholtz as Jeffrey & Bashir Saladuddin as Morgan Russell – Snatched

Jack Reynor as Harry – Free Fire

Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben, Finn Wolfhard as Richie & Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie – It

Jon Bernthal as Griff – Baby Driver

Michael Cera as Dick Grayson/Dick – The LEGO Batman Movie

Pedro Pascal as Whiskey – Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Ray Romano as Terry – The Big Sick

Steve Zahn as Bad Apes – War for the Planet of the Apes

Stephen Merchant as Caliban – Logan

 

 

Supporting Actress

Allison Janney as LaVona Golden – I, Tonya

Ana de Armas as Joi – Blade Runner 2049

Felicity Jones as Mum – A Monster Calls

Laurie Metcalf as Marion McPherson – Lady Bird

Pom Klementieff as Mantis – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Robin Wright as Antiope – Wonder Woman

Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie – Thor: Ragnarok

Tiffany Haddish as Dina – Girls Trip

 

Honorable Mentions

Amiah Miller as Nova – War for the Planet of the Apes

Bella Heathcote as Olive Byrne – Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

Holly Hunter as Beth – The Big Sick

Lucy Davis as Etta – Wonder Woman

Michelle Pfeiffer as Woman – Mother!

Riley Keough as Kim – It Comes At Night

 

Just Missed the List

Elle Fanning as Loretta Figgis – Live by Night

Glenn Close as Dr. Caroline Caldwell – The Girl with All the Gifts

Karen Gillan as Nebula – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Linda Cardellini as Joan Smith – The Founder

Salma Hayek as Sonia Kincaid – The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Sigourney Weaver as Grandma – A Monster Calls

 

 

Villain

Allison Williams as Rose Armitage – Get Out

Annabelle – Annabelle: Creation

Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise – It

Cate Blanchett as Hela – Thor: Ragnarok

James McAvoy as Dennis/Patricia/Hedwig/Kevin/Barry/Jade/Orwell/The Beast – Split

Jamie Foxx as Bats & Jon Hamm as Buddy – Baby Driver

Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/Vulture – Spider-Man: Homecoming

 

Honorable Mentions

Calvin – Life

Common as Cassian – John Wick: Chapter 2

Michael Shannon as Richard Strickland – The Shape of Water

Skull Crawlers – Kong: Skull Island

Sylvia Hoeks as Luv – Blade Runner 2049

Zach Galifinakis as The Joker – The LEGO Batman Movie

 

Just Missed the List

Charlize Theron as Cipher – The Fate of the Furious

Kurt Russell as Ego – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Tony Goldwyn as Barry Norris – The Belko Experiment

Woody Harrelson as The Colonel – War for the Planet of the Apes

 

 

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‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ Review

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Director: Chris McKay

Writers: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, & John Whittington

Voice Cast: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, Mariah Carey, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ellie Kemper and Billy Dee Williams

Synopsis: Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted.

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

No one knew what to think when The LEGO Movie came out, and then we watched it, everyone (okay not everyone) fell in love with it. Something many agreed was the standout was LEGO Batman, so when it was announced that LEGO Batman would be getting a spinoff, it seemed right and logical. And before you ask, no, you don’t have to watch The LEGO Movie in order to watch The LEGO Batman Movie, in fact, the film stands on its own. So was the gamble worth it? Yes, yes it was.

The LEGO Batman Movie starts off with a pretty lengthy and action-packed opening where Batman (Will Arnett) takes on what looks to be his entire rogues gallery lead by The Joker (Zach Galifianakis). Afterwards, he returns to Wayne Manor on Wayne Island where he essentially lives by himself with the expectation of Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), and lives his life as a lonely man. However, that changes when Jim Gordon retires and his daughter Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) is bought in to be the new commissioner and wants to work with the Batman to finally end crime in Gotham, which of course he doesn’t like. Add on the fact that while be distracted as Bruce Wayne, he unknowingly adopts an orphan in Richard Grayson (Michael Cera), or as the other kids in the orphanage call him, Dick. What follows is Batman bringing Dick into the fold and discovering what it means to work together and be a part of a team.

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While the film may be for kids, there is enough here for hardcore Batman fans. The film really digs deep into the core of the character and what makes him tick. The film makes fun of how long the character’s been around, but at the same time it brings up the obvious questions fans, and non-fans, bring up about him. It never gets to the point that it brings the character down – as it shouldn’t – but just enough to make you really think back and criticize the character and his actions. However, it all wrapped up as a huge love letter to Batman and it works on much a personal and ambitious level, and all done in LEGO form.

The voice cast is pretty spot on with Will Arnett, once again, being the highlight once again. He has this ability to tap into Batman that makes him comes off as both a jerk at times, but also a charming character. Michael Cera is a close second to stealing the show from Arnett as Dick Grayson/Robin as he’s equal parts naïve, adventurous and funny, moreover he’s the perfect opposite to Batman. Ralph Fiennes is pretty spot on as Alfred, Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon does the best with what’s she’s given, and is a nice non-villain foil/love interest to Batman.

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Zach Galifianakis as The Joker, which I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sold on when he was casted does a great job. Seeing him be down on the dumps when Batman tells him he’s “fighting around” is both hilarious and a bit heartbreaking in its own way. To go a bit nerdy, hearing Billy Dee Williams voice Two-Face –albeit in a small role – was still cool to hear. The rest of the villain cast don’t really have big moments like Joker, and some other villains Joker recruits – which leads to a fun introduction and funny moments – so I won’t get too much into them. Finally, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill return to voice Superman and Green Lantern in a fun cameo appearance.

While I’m sure many will find some things wrong or misplaced with the film, the film lags for a only a bit, The LEGO Batman Movie nows who the audience is. One thing I do love about the film is it stands on its own. Despite one moment in the film, it stands on itself and doesn’t rely on The LEGO Movie to keep it up – not that it really needed it – I mean, come on, it’s LEGO Batman for crying out loud.

All in all, The LEGO Batman Movie is all around fun. Whether you’re a hardcore Batman fan or not the film has just about everything for everybody watching. More importantly, the film knows and understands the character, which makes the film feel like the ultimate love letter, and the perfect one.

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The LEGO Batman Movie

4.5 out of 5

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’ Review

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Director: Dave Green

Writers: Josh Applebaum & Andre Nemec

Cast: Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Alan Ritchson, Jeremy Howard, Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Laura Linney, Tyler Perry, Brian Tee, Sheamus, Gary Anthony Williams, Brittany Ishibashi, and Brad Garrett

Synopsis: As Shredder joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman and henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady to take over the world, the Turtles must confront an even greater nemesis: the notorious Krang.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

I’m going to be honest with you guys; I did not like the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that came out in 2014. So my excitement for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows was very low to nothing at all. However, being a Turtles fan, I sucked it up and went, and while I did enjoy myself more this time around, saying that this film was better than the first isn’t really saying much since the first film wasn’t that great overall. Not only that, and this is something I just want to get out of the way, the film also felt like a reboot at times with sequel elements. There is obviously a new Shredder actor and the film treats the new actor in Brian Tee was the same actor from the first film, which was not the case. There are other things, but I won’t mention them here. That might be nitpicky to some, but it’s something that needs to be bought up.

Out of the Shadows follows our four brothers Leonardo (Ploszek), Michelangelo (Fisher), Raphael (Ritchson), and Donatello (Howard) as they continue to protect New York from threats from the shadows. However, their old enemy Shredder (Tee), who is about to go to a maximum security prison, is freed from the Foot Clan and scientists Baxter Stockman (Perry). Shredder is not alone this time, as he hires two hired muscles in Bebop (Williams) and Rocksteady (Sheamus) to help him out with the Turtles, by transforming them into wild animals, as he plans to help the alien Krang (voiced by Garrett) to conquer the world.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows has a pretty simple story structure: heroes trying to stop the bad guys. Which is fine considering this new franchise is more geared and targeted for kids. That’s not saying it’s a bad thing, some of the humor will bring a smirk to your face or make you giggle, but overall just keep that in mind. Actually, something I noticed, the action is toned down a lot from the last film. Sure there are big action sequences, but nothing like the avalanche sequence – one of the better sequences from the last film – but they’re a little on the light side this time around.

To add more, the final act feels almost like a beat-for-beat repeat of the last final act. The final fight is over-filled with CGI and almost zero weapon combat. That’s right, the turtles barely use their weapons throughout the whole film, and that’s something I noticed after walking out of the theater. It’s pretty disappointing, but I’m holding anything against the film, but come on! People want to see the Turtles use their weapons in a fight. Not only that, some things happen way too conveniently more than once, and it’s a bit heavy handed at times, which takes the enjoyment out just a tad.

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However, the one thing I will say is better this time around is the dynamic between the Turtles. We see the toll it takes on them and how they feel about having to always be hidden from the world. They want to be accepted, but they know they can never be with the way they look. No matter how many times they defend and save the city, they city and the people of New York will never know who really saves them. That being said, we get more Turtle screen time than the last time, which is where the focus should be. The other part that makes his better is the motion capture performances by the actors and the fact that they bring their own motives and physicality to the roles.

With that said, the humans take a backseat and play more of the supporting roles. I was never a fan of Megan Fox as April O’Neil, and I still don’t buy it. Will Arnett returns as former cameraman, not famous public figure, Vernon Fenwick and is as funny as ever. New member to the Turtle crew is Casey Jones, played by Stephen Amell, who really does own the role, but doesn’t have enough to do. Tyler Perry’s Baxter Stockman is socially awkward and a bit weird, which was surprisingly enjoyable to watch. Laura Linney is surprisingly, and shamefully, wasted as her high ranking chief Rebecca Vincent that doesn’t really do anything really.

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When it comes to the villains, they are okay to disappointing. Brian Tee plays Shredder, doesn’t do anything worthwhile, at all. He gets a cool outfit, but that’s it. Brittany Ishibashi plays Karai, but is never referred by name and literally does nothing other than stand in the back or next to Shredder. Gary Anthony Williams and WWE superstar Sheamus who play Bebop and Rocksteady look like they were having a ton of fun playing goofballs before and after they get mutated. As for Krang, his character appears near the beginning of the film and literally disappears until the final ten minutes of the film. The character is pretty wasted here and seemed like they just introduced him for the sake of having another famous and fan-favorite villain

All in all, if you can get past the fact that the film is geared more toward a younger crowd then Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows can be for you. It does have its good moments, and remember this is coming from a guy that wasn’t really excited for this, but there are things that build up that make it a flawed film. One of them being that it thinks you didn’t watch the last film, so you won’t notice the casting changes.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

3.5 out of 5

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Review

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Dir: Jonathan Liebesman

Cast: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Danny Woodburn, Tohoru Masamune, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, and Whoopi Goldberg

Synopsis: Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April O’Neil and her cameraman Vern Fenwick to save the city and unravel Shredder’s diabolical plan

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review*

 

 

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have had a lot of iterations since they first appeared. From a comic book, to the 80s cartoon and movies, to the new TV shows since the 2000s. No matter how old you are chances are you know who the “heroes in a half-shell” are and what they love. So when it was announced that are favorite turtles would be getting another live-action movie people, obviously, were excited but also cautious. Then it was announced that Michael Bay would be producing and everyone went from excited and cautious to cautious and worried. Then came the “they are going to be aliens” and everyone went into a frenzy. Bay then made some damage control and it died down. Then the turtle pictures came out and boom, back to frenzy. Anyway, this version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a lot of things against it and unfortunately it couldn’t get past it.

 

After an interesting animated beginning, narrated by Splinter (mo-capped by Woodburn and voiced by Tony Shalhoub), giving us the background of The Foot Clan, which in this version are a paramilitary organization that are running rampant in New York City, that are run by The Shredder (Masamune). We are then introduced to younger and hungry Channel 6 News Reporter April O’Neil (Fox) is looking to catch her first break, and she thinks she has found a group of vigilantes attempting to stop the Foot. Of course, she finds out that the vigilantes are four six-foot mutated turtles that happen to be ninjas…and teenagers.

 

Little does April know, she has a connection to the turtles that she apparently forgot about. The connection also connects with businessman Eric Sachs (Fichtner) and April’s father, which feels more like stretch than a good plot point. Sachs turns out to be evil (gasp) and is actually working with Shredder to take out New York in a plan that sort makes no sense (seeing a trend here).

 

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But who cares about April or Sachs right? You’re watching this movie for Leonardo (mo-capped by Ploszek, voiced by Johnny Knoxville), Donatello (mo-capped Howard), Michelangelo (mo-capped by Fisher) and Raphael (mo-capped by Ritchson). Their personalities are the same; Leo is the leader, Donny is the smart and inventive one, Michelangelo is the goofball, and Raphael is the rebel. The big difference is how the turtles look. They are larger and physically imposing than previous iterations, which honestly makes them kind of lose their ninja aspect, but maybe that’s being nit-picky. They can literally lift ship containers and thrown them across the room, punch someone halfway across the room, and smash into military trucks completely destroying it.

 

The turtles all have their moments to show off their personalities, with Michelangelo most likely going to be the standout for many. The bond between the brothers is there which is nice to see they at least kept that in there. But when it comes to the other, and equally, important characters in Turtles history in Splinter and Shredder, they seem to fall just a bit short. Splinter is really nothing more than a glorified cameo and Shredder isn’t really the Shredder that we all know and love. Instead of a samurai, we get an upgraded suit that has multiple blades and looks like he’s eight-feet tall.

 

WHY?

WHY?

 

The main human characters are April and Sachs. Megan Fox being cast as April hit a chord with just about everybody and while I still don’t see her as the character she alright as the character. The always reliable William Fitchner plays Sachs, and Fitchner does the best he can with the role that he can. An added plus for fans, Shredders adopted daughter Karai shows up in a nothing role played by Minae Noji.

 

As seen from the promotional material, the movie looks like it has a nice blend of humor, action, and some serious moments. Well, the movie does have some serious moments and action but it lacks the humor. The movie just isn’t really that funny, even the human comic relief in Will Arnett’s cameraman character Vern only has one real funny line. The movie just feels like it’s trying to hard to be funny and some of the jokes are more targeted toward the younger generations, which is fine move for the studio since that’s probably their targeted audience at this point. But they really should remember the original audience.

 

However, one of the huge things that bother me is the imbalance between the tones. It felt like they couldn’t decide on one and just threw three of them in and see what stuck. The original turtles didn’t take themselves too seriously and knew what they were. These turtles though apologize for what they are, Donny even says “when you put it like that, it sounds ridiculous” when April questions what they are and how it sounds. Instead of embracing the concept, they feel a need to apologize? Yeah that, and shouldn’t, fly with anybody. The fight scenes are the worst, and not in terms of being bad fight scenes, but everything about them make it look like so brutal and then they will just go away like nothing brutal happened. Believe me I’m all for a good brutal fight scene but for a movie targeted toward kids, that was probably a bad decision.
The action is descent with standout sequence being the mountain chase that is shown in every commercial promotion, and a fight between Splinter and Shredder which brings more of the emotional weight for the movie.

 

All in all, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle doesn’t have a lot going on. The humor isn’t really there and it does fail to capture some of the what we originally fell in love with. Are the moments that we can see why we feel in love with them? Sure but it doesn’t take away everything else from movie.

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

2.5 out of 5

‘The LEGO Movie’ Review

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Dir: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

Cast (voice): Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Nick Offerman, Liam Nesson, and Morgan Freeman

Synopsis: An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together.

 

*Reviewer Note:  This is a spoiler free review, as always.  Sorry for the lack of reviews lately. I live in Chicago and if you’ve been watching the news, we (like many other people as well) have been hit with a ton of snow.  But I’m back!*

 

On paper, the movie sounds a little crazy. I think just about everybody was saying “what the hell are they going to do with a Lego movie?” and I’ll admit I was one of those people.  However, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street) have blended together a unique blend of wit, humor, and heart.  And like most kid films, The Lego Movie is really about what it means to be a child but also a person in general (too cheesy?).

The movie follows Emmet (Pratt) who is the most ordinary “person” in his city of Bricksburg.  He follows the instructions for everything, loves the most popular stuff – that includes a lame TV show – and the infectiously catchy pop song “Everything Is Awesome.”  However, when he stumbles into a pit at his construction job, he unintentionally finds the “Piece of Resistance” that is part of a prophecy set by the “Master Builder” Vitruvius (Freeman) to defeat the evil Lord Business or President Business (Ferrell).  When the rebels discover Emmet’s just an ordinary person and not the “Special One” they must work together with his help.

Emmet is joined on his journey mostly by Wildstyle (Banks) who is also a Master Builder. Think of them like Neo in The Matrix that can see things around them and build anything.  Banks does pretty well as the kick ass heroine that does everything she can to protect Emmet and herself.  Freeman is pretty cool as the hippy-like wizard Vitruvius that ranges from wise to comic relief.  Will Ferrel’s Lord Business is maniacal but has depth to stop him from becoming a cliché villain. But it’s really Chris Pratt who steals the show as the endearing and sometimes dopey (in a good way) Emmet.

However the other familiar faces, drawing on some of LEGO’s strongest licenses, such as Batman and Superman for example pop up. But it’s testament to the film’s integrity that such well-known characters never really become the focus of the film.  Batman, even with substantial screen time and a strong supporting role, doesn’t steal the movie.  They even make Batman into a bit of a dick and relish poking fun at Green Lantern, who’s so desperate to make friends with the cool heroes.  But others are entirely original creations like Metal Beard – a gigantic mech topped off with the head of a pirate.

The use of LEGO also gives the film a style of its own and gives the action a distinctive look.  Set pieces often involve characters frantically building new vehicles or special items to help them escape.  It’s exciting to watch these items appear rapidly before your eyes, and they really give the film some great kinetic sequences.  Elsewhere, the solidity of LEGO adds a unique look to environments, especially elements like smoke and water.  Hell, seeing the Council of Master Builders is awesome to see. We see about every famous LEGO you can imagine ranging from; Shakespeare, Ninja Turtles, Ninjas, and Abraham Lincoln. It makes total sense because that’s the kind of freedom and creativity the movie is ultimately encouraging

However, for a movie that is promoted as a comedy, the movie has an unsuspected but welcomed emotional kick to its final act.  Dare I say the best moments of the movie are toward the end.  It’s in these final moments that The LEGO Movie becomes a little bit special

All in all, The LEGO Movie has it all; humor, action, emotion and even some twists that make it just more than a LEGO movie. I completely was blown away by a movie I wasn’t original excited for.  Everything about this movie was truly awesome.

 

The Lego Movie

5 out of 5