Tag Archives: Jonah Hill

Review: How to Train Your Dragon 2

How_to_Train_Your_Dragon_2_Poster“How to Train Your Dragon 2” is kind of like going to a pet store and being swarmed by puppies; you won’t want to leave and when you have to, you’ll want to take them all home with you.

It’s been five years since Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) met Toothless and changed the way the people of Berk viewed dragons. Now, just about everyone has one, even Hiccup’s father, Stoick (Gerard Butler). When a notorious dragon hunter named Drago (Djimon Hounsou) threatens to steal Berk’s dragons, Stoick insists there’s nothing they can do about it, but lay low and keep out of his way. Hiccup, on the other hand, is convinced that reasoning with him could make a difference, so he flies out to do what he thinks is best in an effort to keep the dragons and his village safe.

It’s been over four years since the first “How to Train Your Dragon,” but it’s effortless to fall right back in step with Hiccup, Toothless and the rest of the gang. Any pet owner could relate to Hiccup and Toothless’ connection in the first film and this time around we’ve got an entire village full of people with man’s best friend-type relationships with dragons. There’s dragon racing, a cat lady-like character covered in baby dragons and an abundance of unconditional love all over the place. Within minutes, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” sells Berk as a village well worth saving, almost instantly making you invested in the mission to protect it from Drago and his crew.

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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: The Wolf of Wall Street

Wolf_of_Wall_Street_Poster“The Wolf of Wall Street” lets you relish in unparalleled no holds barred debauchery while increasingly disillusioning the fun and games with the nasty reality of the situation along the way.

The film is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a guy who kicked off his career on Wall Street with the best intentions, but threw all of his morals out the window in exchange for money, women and drugs. Jordan founded Stratton Oakmont and reveled in the lucrative business of selling fraudulent stocks at his costumers’ expense, but there was just so long he could carry on making scenes, crashing cars and drowning himself in Quaaludes before the FBI caught on.

Having read the real Belfort’s memoir, I walked into Martin Scorsese’s feature adaptation knowing what the character is capable of, but apparently I wasn’t capable of imagining the true extent of Belfort’s antics while reading the book because on screen, the behavior is above and beyond. There’s no reason to like the guy. He cheats on his wives, robs innocent people of their hard-earned money and is absolutely wasted the large majority of the movie, but at the same time, it’s so easy to understand why he gets away with it for so long. He’s a total charmer and an absolute blast to hang out with.

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Review: The Watch

Original plots don’t even seem to do the trick anymore. Whether the movie’s about an alien invasion, a hotel robbery, babysitting bad kids or a disastrous couples retreat, we wind up with a tiresome tone and jokes that feel awfully familiar. Lucky for Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill, their standard is slightly elevated by a stellar somewhat new find, Richard Ayoade.

Evan (Stiller) loves starting up local clubs. In fact, he doesn’t really have many friends, only the folks that join his groups and his employees at Costco. When his late night security guard is killed at the store, Evan takes it upon himself to track down his murderer by starting a neighborhood watch. When the first neighborhood watch meeting arrives, Evan is ready to go with pamphlets and a map of the town, but his only three members, Bob (Vince Vaughn) the intense yet loving father, Franklin (Jonah Hill) the police officer wannabe and the seemingly normal Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade) who enjoys a certain naughty fantasy would much rather party at Bob’s than take the neighborhood watch seriously with Evan.

However, when the guys come across some mysterious green goo that leads them to an out-of-this-world silver ball with the power to blow cows away, the fact that aliens have invaded their quaint little town of Glenview is undeniable. When the cops refuse to believe that the town is under attack, Evan, Bob, Franklin and Jamarcus have no choice but to man up, guzzle some beers and protect Glenview from the aliens themselves.

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Review: 21 Jump Street

I’m not the laugh out loud type. You know that silent laugh where you hold it inside, smile and kind of bop up and down a bit? That’s me, so when I find a film that earns a boisterous laugh, you know, the kind where you just can’t stop and it becomes a bit embarrassing, I know I’ve got to recommend a movie.

Schmidt’s (Jonah Hill) got the brains and Jenko (Channing Tatum) the brawns; you’d think they’d make a solid team. The guys may be best buds, but when it comes to their police work, splitting the necessary skills isn’t particularly conducive to the gig. While busting some bad guys at the local park, Schmidt lets his suspect get away and Jenko forgets to read him the Miranda rights, leading the Deputy Chief to decide they’re both completely incompetent and banish them to 21 Jump Street, a station that specializes in doling out undercover high school assignments to officers with baby faces.

Soon enough, Schmidt and Jenko assume their new identities, Brad and Doug. Well, Schmidt was meant to be Brad, the student with a course load full of AP classes while Doug got the drama one and the lengthy sports resume, but a little mishap results in the wrong guy snagging the wrong file. Regardless, they must stay on mission – find the students responsible for dealing the deadly drug HFS and track down their supplier.

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Review: The Sitter

Just because a movie’s a comedy, doesn’t mean it can only be a comedy and often, it’s quite nice to get a little heart with your laughs. However, if you try to infuse your funny film with emotion and fail, the feature becomes laughable, and not in the way you originally intended. On top of being structurally unsound and lacking in the humor department, The Sitter veers further off track in a desperate attempt at giving the final product a serious side it doesn’t deserve.

Noah Griffith is a jobless 20-something who lives with his single mother, Sandy (Jessica Hecht). When an opportunity arises for her to go to a benefit gala with some friends, the Pedullas (Erin Daniels and D.W. Moffett), who’d like to introduce her to a new guy, she’s thrilled. Problem is, the Pedullas’ babysitter cancels at the last minute and there’s no way they can leave their three young children home alone for the sake of Sandy’s love life. A reluctant Noah to the rescue! Noah steps up to the plate, rides his bike over to the Pedullas’ and agrees to babysit Slater, Blithe and Rodrigo (Max Records, Landry Bender and Kevin Hernandez).

It doesn’t take long for Noah to realize that he’s got his hands full. Slater has self-proclaimed “issues” and walks around with a fanny pack full of pills, Blithe is celebrity obsessed and has a face caked full of makeup, and Rodrigo, the family’s recent adoptee, has a thing for cherry-bombing toilets. Regardless, Noah’s hormones obscure his senses enough to make him think it’s a good idea to pack up the kids, load them into their parents’ forbidden minivan, pick up some cocaine and then deliver it to his so-called girlfriend (Ari Graynor) at a wild party. It’ll all be okay as long as the kids are in bed by 1:00am, right? Sure.

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The 8 Worst Movie Characters to Have Babysit Your Kids

Mind your children — the babysitter of doom, Noah (Jonah Hill), is about to arrive in theaters in The Sitter on December 9th. Okay, Noah really isn’t thatbad; it’s actually the kids who cause most of the trouble. Blithe, with an affinity for celebrity life, Slater with his “issues,” and Rodrigo with a passion for cherry-bombing toilets. But still, even if the trio of little monsters did behave themselves, Noah probably would have spent the night on the couch, watching TV and giving them zero attention.

Well, it could be worse – way worse actually. Turns out the Pedulla’s got lucky finding Noah for their babysitting gig because these option would have returned their children in far worse condition.

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Review: Moneyball

It’s pretty obvious that the sports genre has a tendency to revel in formulaic inspirational storytelling. But, when you’ve got a true story with a happy ending, isn’t that effect almost inherent? According to Moneyball, no. Is that a good thing? It depends what you’re looking for.

Brad Pitt is Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s coming off a hot season. However, as Billy frequently says, nobody remembers you when you lose your last game of the season and in 2001, the A’s lost to the New York Yankees in the playoffs. And that’s not even the worst of it. Billy is about to lose his three hottest players and has just $38 million to recoup his losses, a fraction of the budget of most MLB ball clubs.

In comes Jonah Hill as Peter Brand, a Yale graduate with a pension for baseball. Billy snatches him up from an entry-level position with the Cleveland Indians and makes Peter his assistant GM. Together they use Peter’s computer-based system to put together a championship team on a budget. While most look at players like the injured catcher, Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt), and 37-year-old David Justice (Stephen Bishop) as liabilities, Peter and Billy see them as cheap grabs with promising skills.

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Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week: All Hail Miles Fisher

Brace yourself because it’s one of those weeks. We’ve gotten a slew of brand new marketing material and, I’m proud to report, most of the competition revolved around the promotion department – well, for trailers at least. The past seven days have been rough ones for poster designers.

Apparently the team that put together the first image for Famke Janssen’s directorial debut, Bringing Up Bobby, have Lifetime on the brain, because this design would go perfectly with one of their schmaltzy productions. Taking a step up the ladder, Contagion spreads via a series of character posters. They’re not bad designs by any means, but they do primarily rely on star power and, while the film’s cast is stellar, it’s the story the promotions team should be pushing as the concept offer endless creative potential. Just about cracking promotional territory are two designs that popped up for Rise of the Planet of the Apes that many are calling “Banksy-esque.” No word on the designer responsible, but whoever he, she or they are, they deserve some credit as these images are wall-worthy.

In the land of trailers Beware the Gonzo, a film finally off the festival circuit and hitting theaters, certainly makes a statement with its brand new trailer. Part typical high school production, part edgy dramedy, this one proves it can appeal to the masses, while still offering up a little something different. In other Ezra Miller news, the trailer for We Need to Talk About Kevin also arrived, putting the young actor in an entirely different light. Watching one right after the other actually makes for a nice tribute to Miller, as this kid has clearly got some range. On the sillier side is the new trailer for A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. It’s really just a montage of Christmastime calamities as opposed to a trailer that suggests the film will have a beginning, middle and end, but that’s really all that’s necessary to get fans psyched for Harold and Kumar’s big return.

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Review: Get Him to the Greek

We’re not in Hawaii anymore. Get Him to the Greek may be a Forgetting Sarah Marshall spinoff, but this is a different movie entirely. Whereas the original was the tales of a lovesick man’s effort to shed his sorrows, Get Him to the Greek is one in which the main character opts to embrace his vices, making for a much wilder ride. The film still retains the spirit of the first, but we’re in Aldous Snow’s (Russell Brand) world now and there are no singing vampire puppets here, only an unruly rock star with the uncanny ability to drink and smoke his way into our hearts.

Aldous has no problem in the dating department after breaking up with actress Sarah Marshall (Bell), but sadly his music career is suffering. He and pop star Jackie Q (Rose Byrne) are a music industry power couple until Aldous releases the catastrophic record, “African Child,” landing him at the bottom of every chart, putting his career in the gutter and destroying his relationship leading Aldous to ditch the sobriety effort and bring on the booze full force. Even in the constant haze of drugs and alcohol, Aldous still has the desire to return to his glory days.

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