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Review: The Lego Movie

The_Lego_Movie_PosterIt’s a good thing “The Lego Movie” hadn’t come out in the late 80s or early 90s, otherwise my parents would be broke.

The story focuses on a minifigure named Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt). He’s just your average guy, living life according to the instructions. He does his exercises, drinks his overpriced coffee, indulges in the latest craze, a song called “Everything is Awesome,” and heads off to work. However, little does he know that Lord Business (Will Ferrell) is about to demolish his awesome existence using a super weapon called The Kragel. The Master Builders have been hard at work trying to track down the only item that can shut down The Kragel, The Piece of Resistance, but it’s Emmet who happens to stumble upon it and, according to Vitruvius’ (Morgan Freeman) prophecy, that makes Emmet “The Special,” the only one capable of putting a stop to Lord Business’ plan to end the world.

As someone who grew up with and still has an affinity for Legos, “The Lego Movie” is quite literally a dream come true. Sure it was fun sorting through instructions, putting cars, pirate ships and spaceships together piece by piece and then embarking on an epic adventure using your imagination, but what if there were no big, fat human hands to tarnish that visual? Almost every single movement and action sequence in “The Lego Movie” is just what anyone might create manipulating the toys with their hands, but as though the minifigures are doing it all on their own and it’s downright magical.

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Review: Pacific Rim

Pacific-Rim-Poster“Pacific Rim” is the quintessential mindless summer sci-fi action film and while it’s successful in that respect, it’s also disappointing because it could have been so much more.

In the near future, while we’re anticipating an alien invasion from the sky, massive monsters called Kaiju surprise us by arising in the Pacific Ocean. The first attacks are devastating, but eventually, mankind builds weapons that can beat them, the enormous Jaeger robots. The machines are operated by two pilots who connect to each other by “drifting” and establishing a neural bridge. Together, pairs of pilots keep the Kaiju invasion under control for years – that is until bigger and more vicious monsters begin arriving at an increasing rate.

Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) is a star Jaeger pilot alongside his brother, Yancy (Diego Klattenhoff), but when a Kaiju attack leaves the duo broken and their Jaeger severely damaged, Raleigh calls it quits. Five years later, the Jaeger program is at an all-time low, consistently losing robots and pilots, and failing to keep the Kaiju from demolishing cities. With so few operational Jaegers left, the program’s commanding officer, Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), must put them all to work. Trouble is, one is an older model and he needs a pilot familiar with the machine to handle it in combat and Raleigh is the only one left that fits the job description.

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Review: Horrible Bosses

Sure, all comedies should be funny, but, let’s face it, what comedy is really that funny that it can keep you laughing for a full 90 minutes? This tends to be a bit of a pitfall with the genre; writers have joke tunnel vision and then, when that tunnel collapses, we’re left with a neglected story that leaves us checking our watches until the next funny gag arrives. In the case of Horrible Bosses, however, the story and consistent tone of the film, take the form of a robust safety net, catching up when a joke falls through and bouncing us right back into the action.

Think your boss is tough? Nick (Jason Bateman) is a long-time, dedicated employee who’s long overdue for a promotion. Too bad his boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), is a power happy lunatic who enjoys dashing Nick’s hopes and dreams. Then there’s Dale (Charlie Day), a soon-to-be-married dental assistant who suffers the wrath of Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Anniston), a boss who enjoys gassing her patients into oblivion so she can continue her effort to get a piece of Dale’s you-know-what. Meanwhile, over at the Pellit family chemical business, the super sweet papa Pellit (Donald Sutherland) is out, leaving his drug addict of a son, Bobby (Colin Farrell), to reign supreme and make poor Kurt’s (Jason Sudeikis) life miserable.

Thanks to the economy, blackmail and superiority complexes, ditching their jobs isn’t an option, so Nick, Dale and Kurt go for the next best choice, killing their bosses. In an effort to do the deed and actually get away with it, the guys hire a professional (Jamie Foxx) to take care of business for them. However, things get complicated when their hitman refuses to pull the trigger himself, rather instruct his costumers on how to take care of their problems themselves.

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Review: Going The Distance

You’d think it’d be nearly impossible to make a decent romantic comedy with all the genre garbage we get every year. Look at all the junk we’ve already suffered through in 2010: Leap YearWhen in RomeThe Bounty HunterThe Back-up PlanKillers and more. What it comes down to is that we’ve basically seen it all before and it’s just not funny anymore. Now what we’re left with is exaggerated versions of those overused gags making them even less amusing and more annoying. However, Going the Distance takes a different approach. It may start with all those stereotypical genre elements, but rather than turn them into caricatures out of desperation for a laugh, the filmmakers take a more realistic approach and it works.

Where do you go to let loose after a bad day? A bar of course, and it just so happens that both Erin and Garrett (Drew Barrymore and Justin Long) suffered through some rough times on the same day, wound up at the same bar and have an affinity for the same Centipede machine. And so our love story begins. Garrett’s a new yorker working at a record company while Erin is only in town for the summer interning at a prestigious New York City newspaper. After sharing a magical night they examine the situation and come to the conclusion that the fling will last Erin’s remaining six weeks and then that’s that, but just before Erin hops on a plane home to San Francisco, the two decide they’ve got something that’s too good to end and opt to give the long distance thing a shot.

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