Ice Age: Collision Course

I love the Ice Age series. They are among my fav animated movies and certainly my fav franchise. But have they run their course with this, the 5th movie? Have things become stale? I didn’t think so but I believe that this was the least critically appreciated movie despite making it in the box office. My favourite is still the first one ofcourse. Ice Age: Collision Course is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated comedy adventure film produced by Blue Sky Studios. It was directed by Mike Thurmeier and co-directed by Galen Tan Chu, and written by Michael Wilson, Michael Berg and Yoni Brenner. The film stars the voice talents of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Josh Peck, Simon Pegg, Seann William Scott, Jennifer Lopez and Queen Latifah, all reprising their roles from previous films.[1][7] New additions to the cast include Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Adam DeVine, Nick Offerman, Max Greenfield, Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Rauch, Michael Strahan, Jessie J and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Scat, trying to  bury his acorn, accidentally activates an abandoned alien ship that takes him into deep space, where he unwittingly sends several asteroids en route to a collision (in an awesome cartoonish silly scene) with Earth. Meanwhile, Manny is playing ice hockey with his daughter Peaches but worried about the upcoming marriage between Peaches and her fiancé, Julian. Diego and his wife Shira want to start a family but they seem to scare any and all the kids in the area. Sid is dumped by his girlfriend, Francine, just as he is about to propose to her, and he laments his solitude. Manny also forgets his wedding anniversary but an asteroid shower has the crowd initially thinking he arranged the “fireworks” show. However the animals have to soon run for cover as some of the asteroids strike the place and the herd barely escape with their lives.

Buck, who has recovered a dinosaur egg from trio of dromaeosaurs named Gavin, Gertie, and Roger. Buck discovers an ancient stone pillar and takes it to the surface, where he meets Manny and the others. As Buck explains, the pillar depicts various points in time where the asteroids caused mass extinctions and with a massive one still incoming, he believes that the only place they could find a clue to stop it is on the site of the impact of the previous ones, as according to its engravings, they always fall at the same place. The three dromaeosaurs overhear their conversation and follow them. After a long trek, as they reach the crash site and find they discover that the asteroids have electro-magnetic properties. Buck theorizes that if a huge quantity of smaller asteroids should be gathered and launched into orbit, they could attract the main asteroid as well and prevent it from falling on Earth. The herd arrives at “Geotopia”, a community of immortal animals formed inside one of the asteroids that have fallen long ago, where Sid meets Brooke, a female ground sloth who falls in love with him.

The leadero of Geotopia, Shangri Llama, efuses to cooperate with Buck’s plan to send the city’s crystals into space in order to prevent the imminent impact, as they are the key to the residents’ longevity. Sid inadvertently destroys the entire city when he attempts to remove one of the stones to present Brooke with, immediately aging all of the Geotopians to their true ages. Brooke convinces the Geotopians that preventing the asteroid’s fall is more important than their lost youth, and everyone pitches in to fill up a geyser with the crystals so that the pressure launches them into space to draw the asteroid away. The dromaesaurs intervene but Roger is able to convince the other two to help save the lives of everyone. The plan works, and the asteroid is pulled back into space. The herd then departs back home, including Sid, who parts ways from Brooke, but just after they leave, an asteroid piece falls inside a hot spring, giving it rejuvenating properties and making the Geotopians and Sid’s grandmother, who stayed behind with them, regain their youth. After the herd returns, Manny reconciles with Julian, Peaches and Julian celebrate their wedding, Diego and Shira become heroes to the kids who were scared of them before, and a rejuvenated Brooke appears during the ceremony to reunite with Sid. In the film’s epilogue, Scrat keeps struggling to control the alien ship until it crashes on Mars, destroying all life on the planet.

The film got negative reviews for it’s storyline and familiar theme of destruction of the life on earth. It ranks as the worst-reviewed film in the series. I liked it but it isn’t as good as the first 3. I will give this a 7 outta 10!

Ghostbusters (2016)

Yep they just had to do it. The Hollywood trend of rebooting much beloved franchises hits us yet again. I have kept away from reading too much about movie plots and trailers or discussion videos of upcoming and anticipated movies because with the stuff that is out there, it tends to ruin movie watching experiences for me. So other than the fact that the new Ghostbusters movie features and all women cast of the busters plus Chris Hemsworth and that there were cameos by the 4 main cast members of the first two movies (minus the late Harold Ramis) I knew nothing much about it. I had seen one of the trailers a couple of times but that’s about it.

The 2016 American supernatural action comedy film directed by Paul Feig & written by Feig and Katie Dippold, stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Hemsworth. I missed watching this movie in the theatres as it went quickly from the theatres near me and I couldn’t get to the one that’s 45 minutes away in time. Anyways, I got a copy to watch it this afternoon. Slightly surprised as I did not know it was a reboot; I had thought it was (or hoped) going to be set nearly 30 years after the events of the 1989 sequel and have the ladies be the heir-apparents of the original gang. Think about it – 27 years later the old guard trains or finds a group of ladies doing the same ghostbusting that they had originally done all those years ago! I think that was an opportunity missed. You could have had done that instead of just cameos by Murray, Aykroyd, Hudson & Weaver.

While the movie does have it’s fun elements and the cast is pretty good, it does have a few flaws. Sometimes I think the humour was forced quite a bit and it doesn’t flow naturally like the original movie does. Adding Hemsworth in this film too made it hard for me to appreciate it. I like him in Thor but he isn’t the comedic talent needed here. Maybe he didn’t need to be but I found him miscast here. Leslie Jones – I found her funny and she’s probably quite a charmer but this loud African-American shouting for comedy is something that gets on my nerves (I felt the same about a really funny movie with Kevin Hart; even if he is funny the shouting pissed me off). Though I find Kate McKinnon funny in other stuff and hot in real life, she just didn’t do much for me in this film, with the exception of a couple of scenes. Kristen Wiig (oh how I love her) and Melissa McCarthy were good but not on the level that I was expecting. And I almost didn’t recognize Andy Garcia! Though Cecily Strong as Jennifer Lynch, the mayor’s assistant was quite fun.

The special effects harkens back to the original movies and it was cool to see Slimer and his better half. Everything else was just about ok and fun in an unmemorable way. The villain played by Neil Casey was more like a caricature than anything and I guess it kinda fell flat. I did enjoy the film but found myself comparing it to the original and it was no contest. This is tough as I so wanted the movie to succeed and was rooting for the ladies. I hated the dislike the film got before the film was released based on some of the comments about an all ladies group of Busters. C’mon! I will give the film a 7 outta 10!

Never Been Used

A very distinguished lady was on a plane arriving from Switzerland. She found herself seated next to a nice priest whom she asked: “Excuse me Father, could I ask a favor?”

“Of course my child, What can I do for you?”

“Here is the problem, I bought myself a new sophisticated hair remover gadget for which I paid an enormous sum of money. I have really gone over the declaration limits and I am worried that they will confiscate it at customs. Do you think you could hide it under your cassock?”

“Of course I could, my child, but you must realize that I can not lie.” “You have such an honest face Father, I am sure they will not ask you any questions”, and she gave him the ‘hair remover’.

The aircraft arrived at its destination. When the priest presented himself to customs he was asked, “Father, do you have anything to declare?”

“From the top of my head to my sash, I have nothing to declare, my son”,he replied. Finding this reply strange, the customs officer asked, “And from the sash down, what do you have?” The priest replied, “I have there a marvelous little instrument designed for use by women, but which has never been used.”

Breaking out in laughter, the customs officer said, “Go ahead Father. Next!”

Central Intelligence

Central Intelligence is a 2016 American action comedy film directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber and written by Thurber, Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen. The film stars Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson with Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet and Aaron Paul.

The movie is about Calvin Joyner, a former high school star athlete and academic student, who finds himself stuck in a job he isn’t enjoying and getting passed over for promotion. One afternoon he gets a Facebook invite from Bob Stone aka Robbie Wierdicht, an old friend from school, a chubby guy who was picked on and made fun off and who was tossed into a full sports hall buck naked by the school bullies. On that night in 1996, only Calvin and his then girlfriend now his wife Maggie felt bad for Robbie and Calvin gave him his jacket to cover himself up. Not wanting to go to therapy with his wife, Calvin agrees to meet Bob for drinks and is shocked to see that Bob is now a muscle bound tall guy who beats up some bullies at the bar.

After a night of catching up Bob asks review a few accounting records. Calvin deciphers the records as multi-million dollar transactions from an auction, with the final payment set to be made the following day. Bob avoids Calvin’s questions and spends the night on his couch. The next morning CIA agents shows up at the house and demand to see Bob, who has escaped, and say he is a dangerous rogue agent who intends to sell satellite codes to the highest bidder. Calvin finds himself in the middle as a thrilling adventure takes place and he reluctantly is in the middle of a shootout, fights with tough agents and car chases. Bob is blamed for the death of his partner but is really a killer and a rougue or is he being framed? Will the two sort out the mess and get back in time to attend their 20th year class reunion?

There’s a lot of laughs, some slick action, cool moves and stuff flying or jumping around. Although Kevin Hart is funny at times his shouting, yelling and screaming can get on one’s nerves. Johnson is actually more cool and calm in his role and shows his funny side. It was a fun film though the story is wonky. 7.5 outta 10 for a lazy afternoon’s watch.

Alvin & The Chipmunks : The Road Chip

Jason Lee returns with the voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Kaley Cuoco, Anna Faris, and nys deferred compensation loans Christina Applegate in the 4th installment of Alvin & The Chipmunks in The Road Chip. Newcommers Tony Hale, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Josh Green also have major roles in this 2015 film.

Alvin, Simon, and Theodore, along with The Chipettes – Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor – set up a surprise birthday bash for Dave that also serves as a good luck party for The Chipettes, who are scheduled to be guest judges on American Idol. Alvin invites and hires many people and celebrities to the dismay of Simon, before Dave returns home in dissatisfaction. Nevertheless, Dave agrees to take them to mini-golf, and meet Samantha, the woman he has been dating for the past few months. While the Chipmunks like Samantha, her son Miles is a bully who physically abuses the trio. Later, the Chipmunks find an engagement ring in a bag Dave brought home and believe that he’s going to propose to Samantha. They try to steal the ring but are unsuccessful.

Dave says he is producing an album for rising pop star Ashley Grey in Miami and invites Samantha to go with him. They leave Miles with the chipmunks at Dave’s home and have Dave’s neighbour Ms. Price (Jennifer Coolidge) look in on them from time to time. The boys convince Miles to go with them to Miami and sabotage the wedding but they are busted by a Chimpunks hating air marshall en-route, who catches them trying to smuggle themselves in with Miles. The Chipmunks find themselves on the no fly list as a bunch of animals got freed from their cages on the flight. The Chipmunks head to a bar and perform, but this is interrupted by Suggs and they cause a bar brawl as a diversion. They jump into a cab sitting outside. After the cab driver learns they cannot pay him, he kicks the four out of the cab. The Chipmunks and Miles rest, and he reveals that his dad left him when he was five years old. hey raise money to take a bus to New Orleans, and sing “Uptown Funk”, which gets the attention of Dave when it is broadcast on live television, and allows for the Chipmunks to cause Suggs, who has followed them to New Orleans, to get drunk.

Dave and Samantha come to New Orleana and Dave has to drive the boys to Miami while Samantha & Miles fly. When Dave goes out to dinner with Samantha, Alvin reveals that he has stolen the ring. However, Miles had bonded with the Chipmunks and was upset that they were celebrating over this. He crosses the street with his headphones on and is almost hit by a car, but the Chipmunks swing Theodore and push Miles out of the way, saving his life. They agree to give the ring back. Suggs catches up with the Chipmunks, but they trap him in an elevator. Miles and the Chipmunks return the ring to Dave, who reveals he never intended to propose to Samantha, and the ring belonged to his friend Barry. Dave is very disappointed in the kids, so they try to make it up to him by singing a new song to him at the launch party with the help of The Chipettes, Ashley, and Miles. Dave forgives them, ofcourse how could he not, and they return home; stopping by on the way at the local courthouse so Dave can officially adopt them. Dave says that installment loan poor credit nothing could ruin his day, but returns home to see the squirrels had destroyed everything. He then screams Alvin’s name.

A fun time waster on a weekend afternoon or evening. I had a few laughs and some fun / cool moments. I give it a solid 7 outta 10!

Knock Knock

Knock Knock is a 2015 American erotic horror thriller film directed by Eli Roth, who also co-wrote the script with Guillermo Amoedoand Nicolás López. The film stars Keanu Reeves (who also co-executive produced the movie), Lorenza Izzo, and Ana de Armas. The film was released on October 9, 2015, byLionsgate Premiere, and it is a remake of Peter Traynor’s 1977 film Death Game.

Evan is a 43 year old successful architect living in huge house in the sprawling hills  outside of Los Angeles. His family life is seemingly blissful, being in love with his Spanish wife, Karen, a successful artist and sculptor herself, and their two adorable kids. On father’s day the kids give Evan their present and cake and have breakfast together before Karen and the kids go for a weekend beach trip. Evan has to stay behind as a work project came up and so it’s just him and the family pet, a small dog, in the house. On a rainy night, Evan is interrupted from his work by a knock at the door. Two young ladies drenched from the torrential rain ask him for the address to a party, seemingly lost. As their phone is dead they ask Evan if they can use his internet to contact a friend. He lets them in and gives them towels and a tablet.

The girls, Genesis & Bel, find out that they have the wrong area so Evan orders an Uber for them but it is 45 minutes away. He gives them robes and puts their wet clothes in the dryer as the girls make themselves at home. Evan tries to be a good host showing them his record collection and DJ equipment (he used to be a DJ in his youth), warding off their flirty advances by changing seats and talking about his wife. However they won’t stop and when Evan leaves the room for a bit and sees that the driver has come, he finds the girls naked in his bathroom and practically begging him for sex. Temptation finally wins and he gives in, having a threesome with the two. Then next morning, they girls don’t want to seem to leave and making a mess of his house cooking breakfast and messing up Karen’s art. He threatens to call the cops but the girls then claim that they are underage. A friend of Karen drops by and despite Evan trying to get her away, she sees Genesis who comes out, and assumes correctly that Evan is cheating on Karen and angrily leaves.

Evan finally threatens to report a break-in, they give in and agree to be taken home. He drops them off at an upscale neighborhood where they supposedly live. He then returns home, cleans the mess, and tries to go back to his work. However that night, the girls break in and knock Evan unconscious and tie him up and wreck a lot of the belongings in the house and the art and stage a mock game show. Evan is forced to have sex with Bel,  while role-playing as a school girl in his daughter’s school uniform while he is tied up and Genesis secretly tapes them. When Evan finally releases himself, he jumps at Bel and knocks her off. He charges at Genesis, who stabs him in his wounded shoulder with a fork. She then pins him to the ground and both girls proceed to tie him up to a chair with electrical cord. Luis, Karen’s assistant comes by, so the girls hide Evan and Genesis pretends she is Evan’s niece. It almost works but Luis panics upon finding the vandalized sculpture and immediately realizes these girls are lying about their relation to Evan.

Louis then finds Evan tied up to a chair, but before he can help him he hears the girls smashing the vandalized sculpture. He runs to stop them, but then has an asthma attack, and realizes they took his inhaler. The girls play monkey-in-the-middle with his inhaler, and as he tries to get it back, he slips on a piece of the sculpture and knocks his head on the edge, killing him. They turn Louis’ body into a red sculpture and dig a makeshift grave in the backyard meant for Evan. They reveal that they had spied on him before contacting him and they do this to other married men as a game; the men always say yes to having sex with the girls. They are also not underage; they lied about that to him. They bury him upto his neck and show Evan the video of him and Bel having sex and upload it to his facebook account on his phone and we see the comments from his shocked friends pouring in. They finally leave, taking Evan’s small dog with them, leaving Evan to try and dig his way out.

Evan’s wife returns a little bit later with their kids and sees the chaos in the house with lots of crude and vulgar drawings on the wall and on the family photos and the art as the movie ends. An alternate ending has Evan putting on black gloves and shows him walk up to a house where the girls are inside torturing their latest victim. Upon hearing the sound of knocking they both tense up and ask: “Who’s there?” and the movie ends.

Not bad though there are some stuff we can’t buy. The spying and the timings seem a bit too much. Luis’ death also is a bit too convenient as is his idiotic fumbling and not releasing Evan from his constraints before getting killed plus his asthma attack. Still for a black comedy, it’s an ok film. I will give it a 7 outta 10!

Sleepless in Seattle

Despite being a big fan of Tom apply for bank loan Hanks and Meg Ryan and of the city of Seattle, somehow I had never seen this movie. It took me this long just to get myself a copy of the film and watch it at home. Sleepless in Seattle is a 1993 American romantic comedy-drama film directed and co-written by Nora Ephron, based on a story by Jeff Arch. It stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, alongside a supporting cast featuring Bill Pullman, Ross Malinger, Rob Reiner, Rosie O’Donnell, Gaby Hoffmann, Victor Garber, and Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson.

Hanks plays Sam Baldwin, a Chicago architect who has just lost his wife, leaving him to take care of their young son Jonah alone. Looking for a fresh start, Sam moves with Jonah to Seattle. A year and a half later, on Christmas Eve 1992, Jonah—who wants his father to find a new wife—calls in to a radio talk show. Jonah persuades Sam to go on the air to talk about how much he misses Maggie. Hundreds of women from around the country who hear the program and are touched by the story write to Sam. Annie Reid, a Baltimore Sun reporter, is one of the women who hears the kid on the radio. Her heart goes out to Sam, and Jonah, despite the fact that she is engaged to marry amiable, suitable Walter.

Annie decides that she is curious enough to write to Jonah and try and meet Sam. She also feels that there is no spark of magic in her relationship with Walter. After watching the film An Affair to Remember, Annie impulsively writes a letter suggesting that Sam meet her on top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day. She does not intend to mail it, but her friend and editor Becky does it for her and agrees to send Annie to Seattle to “look into doing a story on those radio shows”. Meanwhile, egged on by his best friends Greg & Suzy, Sam starts to date and get involved with a woman named Victoria, to whom Jonah has a dislike towards. He thinks that she is not right for his dad and on reading the letter from Annie decides she more than fits the bill. Sam won’t agree to  meet Annie on Valentine’s Day in NYC, so with help from his friend Jessica, Jonah books a plane ticket for him to New York and go to the Empire State Building.

Jonah goes to loans no credit check direct lenders the observation deck and asks every unattached woman if she is Annie. Sam, distraught, follows Jonah and finds him on the observation deck. Meanwhile, Annie sees the skyscraper from the Rainbow Room where she is dining with Walter and confesses her doubts to him and they decide to break off their engagement. She decides to go to the Empire State building and, despite the fact that it is closing time, begs the guard to let her go to the observation deck. There she finds a backpack that Jonah has left behind. As she pulls out Jonah’s teddy bear from the backpack, Sam and Jonah emerge from the elevator, and the three meet for the first time. Sam recognizes Annie as the woman who he saw across the street and that they both had a moment of connection despite not knowing who she was. As the guard urges them on, Sam offers his hand to Annie and the three of them make their way out of the building with Jonah smiling knowing that his and Jessica’s plan to bring his dad & Annie together has worked.

Fun, sweet, charming, lovely and engaging. What a nice romantic film! Shame I waited so long to see this. 9 outta 10 for a 90s based romantic-comedy!