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Haunting, painful, and beautiful
This is one of those films that you can't stop thinking about days after watching. It doesn't seem like much right after you've finished it, but it keeps nagging at you. The subject matter is handled extremely well- it's blunt, but not degrading, sympathetic, but not unrealistic. It's a shame that this was a tv movie; I think it would have gained some attention if it had been released in theaters. All of the actors were brilliant. Recovery feels very, very real, and I highly recommend checking it out.
Much Ado About Nothing (2011)
Incredibly funny and entertaining
This is great. I don't know much about Shakespeare, but it was a legitimately enjoyable experience just to watch. I laughed so hard, I missed the dialogue and had to rewind at some points! The acting was great, the rotating stage was cool - I was fully entertained. And yeah, if you're into Shakespeare, you might have some issues with their interpretation, but for a casual viewer, it was excellent! Definitely worth a watch.
Troop Zero (2019)
Simple, Fun, Feel-Good Movie
Troop Zero is a feel-good movie. It's quick, forgettable, and fluffy, but you'll end up with a smile on your face. The soundtrack was an unexpected bonus. The child actors were all amazing; their performances were quite astounding.
The plot was creative, if a bit unrealistic. Yes, the golden record did exist, but the idea of a girl scout-esque troop competition to get on it seems too small for such a big world event. Christmas, however, manages to make the audience see the world through a child's eyes. This movie feels more like a character piece rather than a plot driven-film.
The main issue I see is how over-the-top and cliche each of the troop members were. For the most part, the film feels extremely realistic, but the trope-y misfits kind of pull the watcher out of the illusion. The other problem was the number of loose ends. In trying to give each character a motive, we receive bits of backstory which are never addressed again. Almost none of the characters change at all throughout the film.
Troop Zero is by no means a perfect film, but the energy and excitement, along with the '77 Georgia setting, will put you in a good mood.
Frozen II (2019)
Decently entertaining, but lacks the heart of the original
Frozen II lacks all the elements that made the original great. Rather than subverting and subtly mocking the traditional "princess" movie, this film totally embraces it, cheesy romance and all. One of the best things about the original was that the plot was simple, which allowed the characters to have personality, depth, little quirks that make them real. With Frozen II's more complicated story line, the characters are reduced down to boring, unrelatable placeholders that only exist to reach a goal. They lose many of the traits which audiences loved in the original film.
A large part of the movie had to be devoted to backstory, some of which retconned the original. I understand some changes had to be made to have a more advanced plot, but too much time was spent unlearning things we thought we already knew. Also, I noticed several inconsistencies, such as Anna's eye color, which switched from turquoise/green to bright blue. The man who owned the shop on the mountain is now in Arindelle, which makes no sense considering the distance between the two places. Elsa's entire character arc from the original was erased. The endgame of the first film was Elsa controlling her powers and accepting her role as Queen. This film ends with her running off to the mountains to use her powers and making Anna queen, which goes against everything the first film was saying.
Although Frozen II was intended to be more complex, the script makes it seem less involved than the first. Gone is the passionate dialogue, the subtle jokes that fly over younger viewers' heads. They made such an effort to bring back all the characters from the original, even if they made no sense in the actual narrative. As a result, the movie feels extremely straightforward, to the point where you feel like you're missing something.
On the up side, the visuals were absolutely stunning. The animators did a great job with the elements, and I noticed the girls had their hair down, something which was not possible at the time when the first film was made. There were a couple of blips, such as the shoulder strap of a bag going through Anna's hair, but that's forgivable, and the animation is definitely the best thing Frozen II has going for it.
Finally, there were a couple of things which weren't problems, per say, but they were definitely a little off. First, we have the overused trope of vaguely indegenous people being in touch with nature and fighting the more "civilized" people. Second, the scene where Olaf recounts the entirety of the first movie went on for far too long. I feel like Olaf's entire character wasn't utilized as well as he could have been. Also, what was up with the electric guitar? Don't get me wrong, it sounded awesome, but it didn't really fit with the tone and time period of the actual movies. Finally, we need to talk about Kristoff's song. It felt so out of place, one moment humans are having a conversation, the next, there's spotlights, closeups and reindeer singing backup vocals. It was weird, and funny, and made me smile, but it was jarringly out of place in Frozen II. It almost reminded me of an 80s music video.
In conclusion, Frozen II tried to go in too many directions at once, which brings down the quality. The songs were good but ultimately forgettable, the script was bleak, and the characters were lackluster. The ending reversed most of the original movie's plot. There was a post-credits scene, but it wasn't worth staying for. See it if you must, but don't expect the heart of the first movie.
School of Life (2005)
A hidden gem
Don't be fooled by the cheesy-looking poster, title, or advertising. This movie is shocked me (and clearly many other reviewers) by actually having a decent plot, good morals, and characters you actually care about. Like so many others have said, I only saw that Ryan Reynolds was in it, and he's Deadpool, so... However, I was shocked to find myself rooting for the characters. Sure, some parts were predictable, but they were so well played that I barely noticed. The end (no spoilers) genuinely touched me, and I even teared up a bit. I did note that the language was a bit much for a PG movie- not that I minded, it's just that parents might want to check it out first before family movie night. If you have a chance to see this, definitely take it. Currently (October 2018) it's on Prime Video, which is where I watched it. School of Life is not your typical TV movie. It's the ultimate example of don't judge a book (or movie) by it's cover.
The Emoji Movie (2017)
Merchandising: The Movie
The Emoji Movie (2017) is arguably the worst movie of 2017. It tries to be comedic and funny, while also having emotional depth. The final product has neither. What it does have is a poor script and cheap animation. The characters have little to no depth, and the scenes are not well placed. In the very beginning, there is an emotional scene between Gene (T.J. Miller) and his parents (Steven Wright and Jennifer Coolidge), before we know anything about the characters or what is happening. Most of the jokes fall flat. Also, this movie is basically a giant ad. Scenes include Candy Crush, Just Dance, and even Dropbox. Even the emojis themselves could be considered creative product placement.
First, there are so many plot holes that the movie does not even remotely make sense. The emojis have to be scanned every time Alex (Jake T. Austin), the boy who owns their phone, wants to send one. Wouldn't it be easier for them just to have a picture taken and used every time? Alex can already see their pictures on the keyboard, so clearly they have them. Also, Gene and his friends are afraid of being "wiped" from the phone. Emoji come preprogrammed on every phone, so this would not even affect them. It also brings up many unanswered questions, such as: Why doesn't Alex just wipe the phone himself? What happens if he wants to use Jailbreak's princess emoji? Does the same world exist on everyone else's phones? And, shouldn't all phones with this software be having the same problems? In the beginning, when Gene panics and makes multiple faces while being scanned, it makes a strange-looking combination emoji. Then at the end, doing the exact same thing makes a cool-looking, animated emoji. There are too many flaws in the logic of this movie.
Although other animated movies, such as Wreck-it Ralph, Trolls, Toy Story, and The Lego Movie, have successfully made a movie out of a product, those movies at least had depth and a good storyline. The Emoji Movie, on the other hand, simply states "This character is happy, that one is sad, and this one doesn't like the other two." Instead of gradually revealing the character's traits, this movie explicitly states them. One of its major flaws is that none of the characters change or learn anything except for Gene. The movie tries to have a theme of self-acceptance, but comes across as having no moral whatsoever.
Overall, The Emoji Movie is an uncreative approach at making a movie out of something we see nearly every day, emoji. Possibly the only good thing about it is that it is available on Netflix. I don't recommend watching it, unless you have absolutely nothing else. Actually, even if you have nothing else, you might not want to watch it. This cheaply made Sony Animation movie is not worth wasting your time on.