Muppets 2011 and Muppets Most Wanted Review

Audio Transcript of This Review:


I am a new guy when it comes to Muppets, but as a major part of American Pop Culture, and following the glowing reviews, I went to go check out The Muppets 2011, and then about 2 hours after, Muppets Most Wanted.

As a guy whose only knowledge of the Muppets is Kermit, Miss Piggy, the bear that says Wocka Wocka, the Not-Swedish Chef, and Michael Caine as Scrooge, I am not someone familiar with the characters.

2011 was the Muppet’s big cinematic comeback. It managed to be really Meta with how its plot was. There were only 4 human stars, Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Rashida Jones, and Chris Cooper. They’re playing the protagonist’s brother, his fiancé, a studio executive, and an evil oilbaron respectively. It follows the story of Walter, a big fan of the Muppets who eventually has Kermit get them back together for one final show in order to stop Muppet Studios from being torn down.

The first movie is very good, and plays very much on the audience’s feelings. It’s got enough heart in it that it works. There’s a sweet story about believing in yourself and holding onto friendships, and it’s a very funny and heartwarming film. It’s everything you want in a children’s film, and it’s better than anyone would’ve expected. I didn’t need to know all the names of the characters to understand that the Muppets feel irrelevant in this day and age, but they’re gonna give it their all. The Muppets 2011 is just a project with a ton of love put into trying to let everyone have fun. It didn’t lock out people like me, and it left some heart scars.

Also, there were many celebrity cameos because the Muppets are so beloved, most prominently, Jack Black, Emily Blunt, and NPH.

Also, there are the songs, because the series is known for the singing. The first movie’s highlight piece is Man or Muppet, featuring Jason Segel opposite Walter in a touching piece.

Now, the second film likes to parody the Sequel idea. The first movie was more focused on how the Muppets were irrelevant, and they can’t do something nearly that touching again, because when Muppets 2011 came out, there wasn’t a Muppets Movie released in theaters for like 12 years. This movie goes out of its way to make fun of the fact that it’s a sequel, and just try to have fun. The first song in the movie is about how Sequels are never as good as the original.

This movie got me with the trailers, which made it look like a blast, and this is the reason I watched both the films on the same day. Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, and Tina Fey are our stars here, and I enjoyed their chemistry with their Muppet opposites more than the humans in the first one.

The first movie struggled with including too much Jason Segel in a movie that was unbalanced in deciding if Walter or Kermit is the protagonist. This movie makes up its mind in focusing more on the eponymous Muppets.

This story is about the Muppets going on world tour, while Constantine, the world’s most dangerous frog, escapes from a Gulag that’s being run by Tina Fey. The Muppets go on tour with their new Manager, Dominic Badguy, who is not dangerous or villainous in any way, shape or form. The other subplot is Ty Burrell as an Interpol agent working with a Muppet, who I researched has the name of “Sam” working to track down the criminals.

This is a funny film, with lots of silly gags that don’t do anything provocative. There’s a lot less fourth wall breaking, and the cameos seem more numerous this time around, with Christoph Waltz, Chloe Grace Moretz as a delivery girl, Tom Hiddleston as an escape artist inmate, and Usher as an Usher.

This film’s core is built around 4 main character interactions. Constantine and Dominic’s relationship is one of my favorite parts of this film, where the evil frog is a total prick, and Dominic is the one doing all the heavy lifting. Tina Fey and Kermit also play off each other well too, with a surprise that Fey is a huge Kermit fan. Then Sam and Ty Burrell discover they have more in common than they think while they search for the criminals. Finally, Miss Piggy and Kermit have more relationship focus in this one, and that makes the final act of the story.

This time, the human performers enjoy themselves, knowing what type of film they’re in, because the focus on the first film was to be nice and sweet, this one is to be entertaining. That’s not to dilute the film’s message of cherishing your friends however.

As for the highlight song of this movie, it’s the duet Constantine has with Ricky Gervais about how evil they are, and how Ricky will always be number 2.
So, in conclusion, both these films are great, lighthearted watches that are worth the time. Go give them a look, if you’re a fan or not, you should get some enjoyment out of them.

 

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Non-Stop Written Review

Non-Stop is a film in the new genre of Liamsploitation, Low to mid budget action films starring Liam Neeson. This film is awesome. Don’t mistake it as a Taken copy just because Taken essentially created the Liamsploitation Genre when before he was typecast as a mentor type, and before that, known for Schindler’s List. He makes this film very enjoyable, but that’s obvious. Even when he appears in bad film, like The Phantom Menace, he does well and improves the film.

Yes, Neeson made this film better.

So, that leaves us with the main question of this film’s quality, would it still be enjoyable if not for Liam Neeson? I think it still would. The way this film is shot and written is in a manner that’s very exciting. The plot is Liam Neeson’s character, William Marks, a retired and depressed Federal Air Marshal, gets on a plane that gets threats from a terrorist, who tries to frame him for a hijacking as well as extort 150 million dollars. Other characters are Jen (Julianne Moore), who sits next to Marks on the plane, Nancy (Michelle Dockery), the main flight attendant, Zack (Nate Parker), a prick, Fahim Nasir (Omar Metwally), our obligatory suspicious Middle Easterner than is gonna turn out completely innocent because if not the movie company is screwing itself hard, and Jack Hammond (Anson Mount), the other Air Marshal on the plane.

This film is good, it takes it time to build up its conflict, some people are going to find it boring, but I didn’t maybe because I don’t watch enough films. The only name in the film besides Neeson himself was Julianne Moore; so naturally, I was suspicious of everyone in the movie, thus the mystery element worked for me. The twists the story takes, though a little bit wacky, are actually quite good. The film isn’t nearly as action packed as you’d expect because a lot more of the suspense is in the mystery and the audience being in the same mind as Marks.

This is not really a film I’d watch again, except maybe the climax, which is very good. The twists and turns of the story is what keeps it exciting. Maybe if you want to see how the culprit acts before being exposed, you can rewatch it. The action scenes are entertaining, lots of Liam Neeson fighting people, and near the end, Liam Neeson in weird gravity situations on a plane shooting people. Like in the poster of the film.

Minor Spoiler: This great shot only happens near the end

So, another minor spoiler, there’s not much time spent of the plane crashing, it’s mostly just buildup and paranoia, so, like Snakes On A Plane, but not at all, except that it takes place on a plane. This film is just a fun time all around. It’s good for Action Junkies who can stand PG-13 films that are censored kind of strangely, and people who like Liam Neeson. Don’t come in hoping for it to be “Taken to a Plane”. It’s not. It’s its own thing, and it should be enjoyed as such.

 

 

 

“They might tell you you’re on a non-stop flight. Well, I don’t think I care for that. No, I insist that my flight stop! Preferably at an airport! It’s those sudden, unscheduled cornfield and housing development stops that seem to interrupt the flow of my day.”

The Wolf of Wall Street Written Review

Martin Scorsese. One of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Almost everyone agrees. The man makes great movies that are assembled with passion and care, and he forces his actors to give some great performances.

This is your god!

Compared to his best films like Goodfellas and Taxi Driver, this one is not that good, but don’t get this wrong. This is a good film. It’s 3 hours long, and doesn’t feel that length at all (well, until about the ~140 minute mark, where the pace slows considerably).

The Wolf of Wall Street is the biographical account of the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), a New York based stockbroker that commits large amounts of security fraud under his company, Stratton Oakmont. He is inspired by Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey), who on the first day at Wall Street, tells Jordan to do lots of blow and hookers to keep himself at max productivity. On the way, he works with his key co-conspirators: Donnie (played by Jonah Hill) and his old friends who all dealt Mary Jane.

The film is a character piece that centers around Jordan Belfort, and his status as a rich bastard. The film’s genre is primarily a dark comedy, with elements of drama thrown in there. There is a lot of comedy coming from the incredibly dark statements the characters make. For example, there is a scene where a bunch of the male characters see a gorgeous woman, and one comments that “I’d let her give me AIDS”. A hilarious and shocking quote. This film has an insane amount of mature content in the form of nudity. This is the hardest nudity based R-rating I’ve seen in a long time. Lots of naked ladies, a few naked guys, and a ton of sex scenes (by the way, if anyone wants to see a little gag where Leo gets it from a dominatrix, this movie grants your wish). The movie is incredibly profane as well, recently topping this list (not including the documentary). Apparently, according to Belfort, everyone on Wall Street swears like a sailor, it’s funny how the cast delivers these.

The acting in this film is solid. Leonardo Dicaprio is playing a cocaine and Quaalude addicted stockbroker, and thus gets plenty of opportunity to do what he loves doing most, overacting and being angry! He’s very good at that, and this movie makes good use of their Leo. Jonah Hill plays his far less charming and semi-competent partner well enough. Matthew McConaughey gets 4th billing, but he has about 5 minutes of screentime. He’s amazingly memorable however. A lot of his performance seems ad-libbed and is fittingly over-the-top, which properly mirrors the behavior that Jordan develops in order to motivate his employees like his boss motivated him.

“Trollololol, I’m in the film for 5 minutes.”

There has been some criticism towards the overly decadent lifestyle portrayed and how it’s glorified. This really shouldn’t be an issue, because the film makes it clear that Jordan is pretty much a horrible person, and he only holds the audience sympathies by being very charismatic. The lifestyle is not glorified at all, because in the film, the lifestyle contributes heavily to the destruction of his personal life. (The lesson here is that cheating is bad for you)

This kind of stuff is not advised!

The film also has a nice narrative that never poorly uses the internal monologue. When Jordan wants to narrate, he simply talks directly to the camera, and this is done in the lighthearted parts of the story (so, this basically stops about the point where the FBI get on his ass), and when the movie reaches it’s dramatic points, Jordan’s thoughts become internalized.

This film has the “Scorsese feel” to it. For one, the structure feels similar to Goodfellas, though this one is a dark comedy for much longer than Goodfellas, and doesn’t get nearly as dramatic, it still has that feel. Things get darker when the criminal gets closer and closer to getting caught. Even some of the plot elements are the same, like the idea of not ratting out your friends and stuff.

Really, the main draw of this film is how damn funny it is (if you’re in the right mood that is). If I didn’t lose my voice when I was in the theater, I would’ve laughed so much. Without spoiling, some of the best gags involve Popeye, Jame Bond Villains, and cousins. Go to it, enjoy yourself. It’s a brisk film for it’s length.