Movie Trailer Review: Night School, Mary Poppins Returns, Dog Days and More

smallfoot -movie com

Smallfoot (Photo: smallfoot-movie.com)

Searching

John Cho plays the father of a 15-year-old girl who goes missing after a study session with her friends. Like “Unfriended,” this entire movie takes place on the computer. Cho’s character uses Facebook, Skype and other programs to help track down his girl. I also have a 15-year-old daughter, so this movie is supposed to hit home with me. However, the trailer devolves into predictable chaos at the end. I hope the movie will have a more satisfying ending.


Crazy Rich Asians

The title says it all here, as Constance Wu’s character is whisked off to Singapore by her boyfriend (Henry Golding), who is revealed to be “crazy rich.” Michelle Yeoh (from one of my all-time favorites, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), plays the boyfriend’s disapproving mother. Will he follow his heart or obey his mom? Awkwafina plays the bride-to-be’s best friend, and she introduces us to the epithet “banana” (“yellow on the outside, white on the inside”), which sounds like a term we won’t be allowed to say in the near future. The predominantly Asian cast is very refreshing, and I hope we see more movies like this in the future.

 

A Simple Favor

Anna Kendrick plays suburban mom Stephanie, who is swept into the mysterious disappearance of her glamorous new friend, Emily (Blake Lively). The playful French music in the trailer adds to the intrigue. As Stephanie unravels the mystery, she falls for Emily’s husband (Henry Golding again!). The producers shouldn’t have given away that juicy plot twist, but at least we don’t know what’s the “simple favor” Emily asked of Stephanie before her disappearance.

 

Welcome to Marwen

Steve Carell plays a World War II historian who is beaten by five thugs in a random act of violence. With his memory erased, he photographs a world of Barbie dolls who look like his female friends reimagined as avenging warriors. The outcome of his search for healing and justice never seems to be in doubt, but we are supposed to be intrigued by the lifelike appearance and animation of the dolls.

 

Bad Times at the El Royale

Jon Hamm plays the owner of the El Royale hotel, which is located on the border of California and Nevada. A priest (Jeff Bridges) soon learns that bad guys are doing bad things there. Then the trailer switches into a weird gear, which Chris Hemsworth showing up looking like Jim Morrison. A woman belts out “This Old Heart of Mine” to herself, and then walks out into the rain. Huh? Bridges’ character says he’s not really a priest. Don’t give that away in the trailer!

 

Peppermint

Jennifer Garner undergoes a dark transformation after her husband and daughter are gunned down by members of a drug cartel. Justice is denied, as the judge and cops are in the pocket of the bad guys. The defense attorney gaslights her by questioning whether she really saw what she thinks she saw. The mild-mannered mom resurfaces five years later as a vigilante of vengeance. We are supposed to ask ourselves if we would do the same if we were in her shoes; let’s hope we don’t have to find out.

 

Dog Days

How much you will like this movie depends on one question: Do you like dogs? If you do, this is the movie for you. Four dogs weave their way through the lives of 12 people in Los Angeles. It doesn’t matter what these dogs are doing. The doggie love just flows, and the people involved with them learn to love each other, too. The cast includes Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, Rob Corddry and Adam Pally. I feel like I was in the room when this idea was pitched: “What if we did a movie like Love Actually or Mother’s Day … but with dogs?”

 

Mary Poppins Returns

The teaser trailer follows a kite as it blows around a familiar-looking British neighborhood. It eventually mounts to the sky, where our favorite governess rides down with it, instead of her trademark umbrella. Emily Blunt delivers her lines well enough for us to give her a chance to play Mary Poppins. We’ll see if she portrays the snippier version of the character from P.L. Travers’ books. However, the original movie was such a classic that this film seems like must climb a mountain of expectations to satisfy the audience. Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are a tough act to follow, and so is the original film’s amazing music.

 

The House with a Clock in its Walls

Jack Black and Cate Blanchett show a young relative the secrets of a magical house. The first part of the trailer is Potter-esque, as the boy discovers that he has a tremendous aptitude for magic. Then we learn that house has a doomsday clock within its walls, planted there by its evil previous owner. Describe this trailer in three words: “Confusing magical fun?”

 

Smallfoot

This cartoon tells the Bigfoot story backwards, as Channing Tatum’s Bigfoot (living in a colony of Bigfeet) discovers a mythical human for the first time. People and Bigfeet can’t understand each other’s speech and are scared of each other! That’s about it. This movie will entertain the kids, but adults will be checking their phones after they’ve identified all the celebrity voices (Zendaya! Common! LeBron!)

 

Night School

Winner of the Week! We know Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish will be hilarious. The real treat is that the minor characters are really funny, too. We have the assistant principal who Hart accuses of using a “black voice” (he denies it). One of the students is Skyping in from jail, where he gets into a brutal fight. Rob Riggle shows up on the night mission to steal a test in a bright yellow outfit. Yes, Night School is going to keep it 100.

Movie Trailer Review: Mile 22, Bumblebee, Aquaman and More

Bumblebee screenrant

Bumblebee (Photo: screenrant.com)

Mile 22

Mark Wahlberg is a special-forces agent in a group called “Overwatch,” which makes us think that’s the title of the movie. Ronda Rousey is part of his crew, so that’s a plus. John Malkovich tells us that some item must be delivered to Mile 22 – there’s the title! For some reason, this movie has so much action that it should be seen in Large Format or even IMAX! That’s a big promise, so Mile 22 must deliver.

 

Alita: Battle Angel

Alita’s barely conscious brain is transferred into a new makeshift body created by her personal Geppetto, played by Christoph Waltz. He’s getting a rare break from playing a villain. Or is he? Because once Alita finds a super costume, which seems to be calling to her, even the good guys start trying to kill her. Alita seems to be too small to be an action hero, but she is just staying true to her anime roots.

 

The Meg

The trailer changed, and the new version gives away more of the movie. The “Megalodon” shark seems to be a regular great white shark that is just super-duper-sized. The trailer can’t seem to decide whether this is a comedy or a monster movie.

 

The Girl in the Spider’s Web

I’m shocked they are making the second Dragon Tattoo movie, since the first one didn’t set the box office on fire. Claire Foy as Lisbeth Salander is the star of the show, to the point where we barely see journalistic protagonist Mickael Blomkvist. Despite my bias, I have to admit that writers aren’t as exciting as avenging-angel hackers.

 

Overlord

I have no idea what’s going on here. We see some World War II soldiers in a plane. They stumble across a mad scientist who is creating some kind of black, gooey life form. Will we ever discover what’s going on? “No!” my daughter says. “J.J. Abrams will not tell you what’s in his magic mystery boxes!”

 

First Man

Neil Armstrong’s story looks like it’s not shot in HD, which makes it look more authentic. Instead of the historical tone of ABC’s “Astronaut Wives Club,” First Man focuses on serious drama and action. It’s “the most dangerous mission in history,” which it’s important to emphasize since we all know how it ends. Although the spacesuits don’t seem authentic (the gloves should be thicker!), Kyle Chandler performs well as the no-nonsense ground-control leader. Poor Ryan Gosling as Armstrong keeps getting yelled at by his wife (Claire Foy, challenging Tiffany Haddish for the title of who’s in the most upcoming movies).

 

Aquaman

A dark-looking DC Comics origin story. Have we seen this before? The scene with little Aquaboy backed up by all the fish in the aquarium looks like a scene from Finding Nemo. Two villains seems to be too much in the movie, and some of the CGI is a little too obvious. The undersea scenes look like the highlight. Jason Momoa is going to have to drag this film across the finish line using his charisma alone.

 

Johnny English Strikes Again

Once we get over the disappointment that this isn’t a James Bond movie (and the relief that it’s not a Mr. Bean movie), this ends up being pretty funny. It’s not hard to make a funny spy spoof, as we learned from Get Smart, Top Secret! (an underrated gem) and the Austin Powers movies. It’s a bit confusing why a complete idiot is placed in charge of an important mission, but that’s been going on since the Pink Panther movies.

 

Bumblebee

The fact that Bumblebee can’t talk is a plus. The teenage girl protagonist is reminiscent of the last Transformers movie, First Knight. The relationship between the girl and Bumblebee also calls up Monster Trucks and the upcoming A-X-L. Don’t blink or you’ll miss John Cena as a heel, which WWE fans have been praying for since 2010.

 

Operation Finale

This was the most impressive trailer of the bunch, posing the question “What do you do when you capture a monster?” In this case, it’s famed Nazi Adolf Eichmann. Should you put him on trial or just kill him? All those questions come up, as Eichmann mockingly states that his life is worth those of 6 million Jews. Ben Kingsley turns in another outstanding performance.

Is Kathy Griffin’s Comedy Career Over?

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - MAY 06:  Kathy Griffin performs at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza on May 6, 2016 in Thousand Oaks, California.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/WireImage)

THOUSAND OAKS, CA – MAY 06: Kathy Griffin performs at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza on May 6, 2016 in Thousand Oaks, California. (Photo by Jeff Golden/WireImage) 

 

Is Kathy Griffin’s Comedy Career Over?
Don’t worry, Kathy Griffin, you won’t get “arrested” for holding a bloody, decapitated replica of President Trump’s severed head.
Freedom of speech is a double-edged sword. Griffin’s freedom to pull a stunt like that is balanced by CNN’s freedom to fire her from its New Year’s Eve show after 10 years.
Trump is always going to fire back at his critics on Twitter; Griffin knew that. So he wasn’t “bullying” the comedian when he Tweeted:
“My children, especially my 11 year old, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!”
If someone displayed a bloody effigy of my father, I would freak out, too … and I’m a lot older than 11.
The wrong joke
Timing is everything when it comes to comedy. Griffin’s display was supposed to mock Trump’s “blood coming out of her … whatever” line from last year.
The joke wasn’t timely, and it was too gruesome. As Griffin admitted in her apology, “it wasn’t funny.”
You can’t blame Griffin for trying. If I’ve learned anything from watching eight seasons of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” it’s that comedians will do anything for a laugh.
Decency and decorum go out the window when you’re chasing the high of that big audience reaction.
Another thing Griffin chases is relevance. She knows she’s never been a huge star, as she used to have a reality show on Bravo called “My Life on the D List.”
So Griffin knew that even if this joke bombed, it would get people talking about her more than ever. Every president is an easy target for his critics…especially Trump.
Also, I’m not buying Griffin’s line that “he broke me” by calling her “sick.” She has dealt with hecklers on stage who have said much worse.
If federal agents had thrown her into an interrogation room for hours and treated her like a terrorist, then yes, I would believe that could “break” Griffin. But that didn’t happen.
What happens now?
Griffin worried that she is “not going to have a career after this.” She’s not paying me to be her agent, but here’s what she should do:
  • First, Griffin should lay low for a while. Stay out of the spotlight and work on some new comedy material.
  • Next, she should embrace the controversy and brand herself as an “outlaw” comic who isn’t afraid to say anything. The damage is done, so it’s too late to “play it safe” as a comic.
  • Finally, she should call up Mo’Nique and do a comedy tour and HBO special with her.
Remember Mo’Nique? She won an Oscar for “Precious,” but she has mostly vanished from Hollywood movies. Mo’Nique isn’t shy about talking about how she has been “whiteballed” from the industry.
So Kathy Griffin’s comedy career will continue. She won’t have to “pull a Brockmire” by disappearing for 10 years before re-emerging in the low minor leagues.
She just needs to take a deep breath and realize that this joke just didn’t work.