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Movies Review

Movie Review – Storks

We saw Storks at a preview screening, and it had some really cute parts and fun actiony bits.  However, I think they just had no idea how to start the movie to get to those bits and just decided to use the “I’m giving you the company as long as you don’t screw up this one final task” trope.  Throughout the movie characters keep asking Junior (the star that’s a stork, voiced by Andy Samberg) why he wants to be the boss, and he doesn’t know.  I don’t think the filmmakers did either.

Once they get past that part, the movie is fun.  Basically, storks used to deliver babies made in a magical device, but now people get their babies some other way.  Yeah, it’s strange.  Now storks deliver packages for an Amazon clone.  Tulip is the one human on Stork Mountain, a failed delivery after the stork assigned to her ‘fell in love’ with the cute little baby and refused to fulfill his duty.  She’s a free spirit, but doesn’t fit in despite her best efforts.  Tulip accidentally makes a new baby after getting a letter from a kid who really wants a baby brother (who has a whole subplot about busy parents reconnecting with him), and Junior and Tulip go on an adventure to get the baby to her family.

I normally wouldn’t have been that detailed about the plot but I feel like the commercials and early trailers didn’t really give you any idea what the movie was about.  I enjoyed it, all of the principal cast did a solid job with the voices, including Key and Peele as a pair of wolves that want to take the baby to raise as their own.  But there is one character so bad that it came way too close to ruining the movie – Stephen Glickman’s “Pigeon Toady”.  He speaks with an extremely annoying ‘Dude, braaaaah’ affectation that I don’t think one person found funny.  I never understand how a character that poorly made gets past everyone that sees the movie before release.

Storks has some funny bits and some heartwarming bits, but wasn’t a home run.  If your kids want to see it, there are worse ways to spend an afternoon, but it’s not required viewing.  If you do go, plug your ears whenever the pigeon is talking.

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Movies Review

Movie Review – Muppets Most Wanted

The Muppets have never been an obsession for me, as they are for some of my friends. They know all the Muppet lore, can break down each movie in a scholarly tone, and name you all the cameos in each one. For me, I remember enjoying the show, and seeing a few of the movies here and there, but that’s about it.  When the Muppets ‘relaunched’ with the last movie, I was mostly unmoved – though I’ve sen it since, or most of it, and laughed.  But hey, the kids wanted to see it bad, and I don’t have to have my arm twisted to go to the theater and have some popcorn.  I came away quite entertained.

First, there’s a Monsters University short in front of it.  The guys ‘steal’ a party from the popular frats, I thought it was a nice change from all the Toy Story shorts.  As for the Muppets, the movie picks up just after the end of the last one – literally.  Kermit (after the sequel-themed musical number) has to deal with the demands and ideas of the rest of the team as he tries to keep a coherent show together.  If you’ve seen the Muppet Show before, you know that it rarely works out but you can’t fault him for trying.  In swoops Dominic Badguy, played by Ricky Gervais, who offers the Muppets a European tour.  However it’s all a ploy, as his partner, Constantine “the most dangerous frog in the world”, breaks out of a Russian gulag to do a crime spree across Europe.

The Muppet-centric parts of the movie were a bit hit or miss for me.  Some jokes landed hard (Fozzie’s comment when they figure out what’s going on killed me), but many were worth a chuckle or eyeroll at best.  I really liked Tina Fey as the gulag warden, she seems to get this kind of movie is a great excuse to get hammy.  Sorry Piggy.  Ricky Gervais was solid, and they probably didn’t pay him enough for the costume he ends up wearing.  Sam the Eagle with Ty Burrell as the French Interpol guy was actually quite funny.  Their interrogation musical number was surprisingly good.  The cameos were similarly hit or miss, with some just seeming surreal, like Christoph Waltz.  Danny Trejo was hilarious though, almost worth the price on it’s own for him and the other prisoners and the show they put on.  There’s a few more good ones but they are better unspoiled.

Muppets Most Wanted was definitely an enjoyable movie, though it probably won’t supplant your favorite original Muppets movie as best ever.