Ellen DeGeneres voices the Dory character for most of the movie. The story: Dory, as a young fish, has short-term memory loss, and her parents are very worried about her. How will she find her way around? How will she be able to cope and take care of herself? Will anyone want to be friends with her? I was kind of surprised that such an adult set of concerns was the subject of a kids movie. But I think the movie handled it well. And while I’m not politically correct and don’t like PC movies, I liked this movie especially because I think it teaches kids to have compassion for those with mental disabilities. That’s laudable, though it is probably over the heads of the target audience. Dory, because of her inability to remember, gets lost from her parents while she is very young, and spends most of the rest of the movie trying to find them. Through that process, she meets a number of familiar characters (including Nemo and his father, Marlin, the latter of whom is voice by Albert Brooks) and a number of new ones. All of them, in their own way, help Dory make her way in her conscientious search to find her folks.
Like most Pixar movies, this has the usual colorful array of characters, sets and backgrounds, and other eye candy stuff. And like most Pixar movies, there are funny and quirky characters. Although the movie is kind of scary and serous for kids (at least, the kids when I was growing up–today, I know it’s a different story), there is a predictable and unlikely happy ending.
I enjoyed it. And it’s perfect to take your kids and whole family to see.
Watch the trailer . . .
* Central Intelligence – PG-13: When a movie has posters that proclaim, “Saving the World Takes a Little Hart and a Big Johnson,” you already know what to expect: not much. And I didn’t expect anything from this. That said, I laughed a lot for the first third of the movie. It was very funny for about that much of the film. After that, it falls flat and fizzles. Plus saying it’s kinda stupid overall is the understatement of the year. The story is okay. It’s the execution that’s just dumb. And, again, I didn’t expect better, so I was pleasantly surprised if only ever so briefly . . . and then I was returned to the reality of most movies starring Kevin Hart and many movies starring Duane “The Rock” Johnson.
The story: Johnson is a fat, nerdy, poor kid in high school. He has no friends and is constantly mocked by the popular crowd, made up of mostly jocks. One day, they grab him while he’s naked in the locker room shower and throw him onto the gym floor during a school assembly. The only decent person, played by Hart, is the high school’s star athlete, who is also voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by their high school class. Hart covers up the naked Johnson with his varsity jacket and tries to shield him from further embarrassment. This kindness is something Johnson never forgets.
Fast forward 20 years later, and things are reversed. Sort of. Johnson is now a big, tall, buff guy who turns out to be a CIA operative of sorts. And Hart is an accountant who can’t get any respect at work and is bored with his life. He’s disappointed with how his life has turned out, and his wife–his high school sweetheart–wants the two of them to see a marriage counselor. It’s also the week of their 20th high school reunion. Hart, because he sees his life as so unexciting, doesn’t want to attend the reunion, while his wife does.
Soon, Johnson is back in Hart’s life, and Hart becomes entangled in a CIA plot regarding dangerous weapons and an evil villain. And that’s when it becomes stupid and mindless. Not that anyone should have expected anything different. After all, this is The Rock and Kevin Hart. Not exactly the working ensemble of masterpiece theater. As you’ll note, this only rates a PG-13, and not an R. It’s not as raunchy as what you’d typically expect for a bromance involving these two. But, again, it is as silly as what you’d expect.
HALF A MARX
Watch the trailer . . .
* Genius – PG-13: You know Hollywood is running out of ideas, when it puts out a movie about the editing of books. Yes, this is literally about that. I know–the only thing less exciting is a movie about watching paint dry. And that’ll probably be next. You literally see endless scenes of Israel-hater Colin Firth editing pages, crossing out words, and writing in the margins, as he portrays Max Perkins, the editor at Charles Scribner and Sons publishing house in New York in 1929. Yaaawn.
Apparently, Perkins was the editor of several famous, successful authors at the time, including F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, both of whom make appearances in this movie (played by actors, of course). But that notoriety doesn’t make this movie any more watchable or interesting. Instead, it feels like a boorish bore you were forced to eat dinner with drops a couple names during an insufferable conversation you wish you could walk out on. No, there’s nothing “genius” about Genius.
The movie focuses on Perkins’ two editing pursuits of books by a then-up-and-coming novelist Thomas Wolfe, not to be confused with the more contemporary Tom Wolfe, author of “The Right Stuff” and “The Bonfire of the Vanities.” The Thomas Wolfe of this book is a drunken, carousing, overwrought Southerner desperate to become a star and funded by his rich paramour (Nicole Kidman), a married woman who is jealous of his impending success and budding friendship with editor Perkins. In this onscreen bore, Wolfe is played–in fact, overplayed–by Jude Law. Wolfe is very wordy and writes thousands of pages for his two books, all of which must be whittled down and distilled by Perkins, who spends months rewriting the drivel and turning Wolfe into a star. Since he’s forever at work editing Wolfe, Perkins neglects his family and skips a vacation. He’s barely in his kids’ lives, yet still aware of what is going on with them.
While this movie, as with most period pieces with a decent budget, has charming clothing, cars, decor, and other accoutrements of the time, that’s where the charm ends. An irrelevant scene of editor and writer, Perkins and Wolfe, at a Black jazz club feels like filler, made to waste valuable minutes of the nearly two hours of my life I’ll never get back that this long, slow movie comprised. And I wasn’t sure what the point or purpose of this movie was, other than to enable an ensemble of filmmakers and actors to collect yet another paycheck for a job boringly done.
This movie is the cure for insomnia . . . and for the ten bucks plus and nearly two hours of your life you were dying to throw away.
TWO MARXES PLUS THREE NODOZ
Watch the trailer . . .