Despite the fact that this too-soon spin-off feels like a mere cash-in on the Disney Cars/Planes marketing machine, this sequel is actually a lot more fun than expected. Not only is the animation witty and sometimes even exhilarating, but there are some solid messages in the story. On the other hand, there's also the continuing problem of making movies in which the central characters are inanimate objects with cute faces drawn on them. But never mind: see the movies, buy the toys, keep the kids happy!
After the globe-hopping race in 2013's Planes, the new champ Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook) sees his new celebrity career grounded when he develops a problem in his gearbox. He can still fly, but the torque required for racing stunts could do him in. So he decides to retrain as an aerial firefighter to help his local airfield maintain its certification in time for the annual Corn Festival. In training, he is mentored by veteran chopper Blade (Ed Harris), working alongside his starstruck fan Dipper (Julie Bowen), the noble Windlifter (Wes Studi), the sassy Dynamite (Regina King) and the genius mechanic Maru (Curtis Armstrong). But a raging wildfire is threatening the nearby Fusel Lodge, and the local park superintendent (John Michael Higgins) doesn't want to shut it down with so many stars as guests.
The best touch here is to make Dusty utterly full of himself, never listening to any advice before charging in unprepared for the next challenge. It's predictable and underdeveloped, but it makes this chirpy crop-duster far more interesting, and adds some unexpected diversions in a plot that otherwise heads exactly where it has to go. Meanwhile, the screenwriters pack the dialog with witty puns and some snappy verbal and visual gags that allow the actors to give their vehicles a bit of personality, even if some of this is merely ethnic stereotyping or simplistic hero/villain morality.
Continue reading: Planes: Fire & Rescue Review
Former cropduster plane turned racing sensation Dusty Crophopper overcame his crippling fear of heights during the events of 'Planes', but he's about to show even stronger feats of bravery in his latest escapades. Discovering that some serious damage has been done to his engine, he sadly contemplates that he may have to abandon his racing dreams. Instead, he decides on a new path: aerial firefighting. This time he teams up with Blade Ranger, a long-serving fire and rescue helicopter who's currently recruiting several crafts to take on a big job in the forest as a brutal wildfire sweeps the trees. Joining him is a group of fearless ground vehicles called The Smokejumpers, and together they work to save lives in what could be the most heroic venture of their lives. But will this be a career that Dusty decides to stick with?
Continue: Planes: Fire And Rescue Trailer
Lucia and Marcus are in love, freshly out of college the couple have decided they want to spend the rest of their lives together. The idea is firmly set in their minds, now all is left to do is to introduce the folks and announce the engagement. Simple.
Continue: Our Family Wedding Trailer
Peggy (Molly Shannon) dotes on Pencil, her puppy, with the affection only rewarded to the luckiest of children from the most spoiling of parents. So, when Pencil gets into some toxic shrubbery and goes, as all dogs do, to heaven, Peggy is inconsolable. Not that there aren't plenty of people who want to help her. Her oafish neighbor (John C. Reilly) wants to date her, her best friend (Regina King) wants to set her up with someone, and the receptionist at the vet (the invaluable Peter Sarsgaard) wants to get her a new dog ASAP. It's the receptionist, Newt, who gets Peggy into veganism and, ostensibly, sends her on a path of social destruction the likes of which are rarely seen.
Continue reading: Year Of The Dog Review
Enemy of the State stars Will Smith as Robert Dean, an attorney who is handed a video tape by an old friend running for his life, who just happened to come across Smith in a lingerie store. The problem? It shows an NSA agent killing a congressman. The mastermind behind that murder and others to come is agent Reynolds (Jon Voight). The NSA has Dean's life under 24-hour surveillance. They have bugs in his pants, his cell phone, his pen, (is this beginning to sound familiar?) Dean's only chance of survival is a man named Brill, an acquaintance he used for some of his cases. Gene Hackman plays Brill, and his character is the guy who is just so darn convenient to have around in the time of crisis.
Continue reading: Enemy Of The State Review
Well, the ants have had enough of Lucas' sweeping kicks to their hill. They've grown tired of his garden hose flooding every chamber of their elaborate home. And for once, they have a plan. Zoc (Nicolas Cage), the colony's kooky chemist, has perfected a potion that will shrink Lucas down to bug level - teaching him, in the process, why it's best to pick on someone your own size.
Continue reading: The Ant Bully Review
It's a backwards machismo, I suppose, the urge to see the things which you so loathe; but I need to see a bad film every once in a while. And, you know what, Mighty Joe Young doesn't qualify.
Continue reading: Mighty Joe Young (1998) Review
Sandra Bullock isn't doing her underappreciated talentany favors by appearing in "Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous,"a relentlessly dim-witted sequel to her 2000 hit about a tomboy FBI agentgoing undercover at a beauty pageant.
The first "MissCongeniality" was itself so hackneyed thatthe actress's Lucille-Ball-like gift for guffaws was just about its onlysaving grace, and the same fate befalls her here. Bullock's delivery ofa few choice one-liners is the sole source of laughs in this clunker, andit's amazing to see her pull them off when her character has, without explanation,turned into a vapid, shallow, egocentric Barbie doll nitwit after becomingan implausible spokesmodel for the FBI.
It seems after her exposure at the Miss United States beautypageant in the first picture, the bureau decided she could best serve hercountry by being tarted up literally in satin and bows, and paraded aroundon a waving-and-smiling publicity tour of talk shows and personal appearances.
Continue reading: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous Review
After using her coincidentally convenient knowledge of hair care products to acquit a murder suspect in "Legally Blonde," one-dimensionally ditzy Harvard Law grad Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) has become a naively sanguine congressional aide for the insipid sequel "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde" -- and once again her dumb luck masquerades as unsuspected smarts.
With Elle in Washington to lobby against animal testing by cosmetics companies, the plot turns on her ability to win over two bitterly conservative senators -- not with reason, facts or even charm, but simply because one of them happens to be a sorority sister (they have a secret dance instead of a secret handshake) and another has a big male Rottweiler who just happens to fall in love with Bruiser, her little male Chihuahua, during a walk in the park.
Yes, that's right -- this feebly scripted, Barbie-brained, Gucci-accessorized so-called comedy actually climbs up on a designer-pink soapbox of social consciousness to preach in platitudes about both animal rights and gay rights. Advocates in both camps should feel insulted.
Continue reading: Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde Review
There's a delightful surprise before the opening credits of "Daddy Day Care" -- a very funny CGI-animated short about tadpoles and peer pressure called "Late Bloomers."
The movie itself doesn't demonstrate half the creativity crammed into that four-minute cartoon. But it's not bad either.
Eddie Murphy stars as a workaholic ad exec sacked from his job (for promoting a kids' cereal called Veggie-Os) and saddled with taking care of his 4-year-old son (cute, uncommonly sad-eyed wisecracker Khamani Griffin) while his wife (Regina Hall) becomes the breadwinner, going back to work as a lawyer. But apparently she's a woefully underpaid lawyer because to make ends meet, Murphy turns their home into a day care center and enlists a couple laid-off buddies (pratfalling heavyweight Jeff Garlin and scatty sci-fi geek Steve Zahn) to help.
Continue reading: Daddy Day Care Review
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