Zach’s Zany 2 Guests Movie Reviews: TROLLS WORLD TOUR (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Wait For A Cheap Rental)

Hey Zach here to start off this bitch before I post two GUEST reviews of TROLLS: WORLD TOUR, for which I was cheap enough not to pay for a 48 hr. $20 rental and wait till later this year when it’s like $3 to watch only once. See, I’m a fan of Disney, Sony, Warner Bros, etc for allowing those who missed their most recent movies in theaters to just buy them for $19.99 soon after this COVID-19 decided to fuck everyone in the asshole. But Universal, little pricks that they are, with their movies such as The Hunt, Emma, The Invisible Man, and now this Trolls sequel, said “fuck that fuck ’em, charge them $20 a pop and we will regular release them to buy for the exact same price just a little later.” I’m not going to play into their little game, so instead of a review from me, because well…I wasn’t really looking forward to this anyway, here’s two good guys that I know that paid the $20 and their two cents. My little dude, now 2 and a half, could not give two shits when my wive puts the first movie on, and my wife and I really don’t like the first one beyond the Justin Timberlake song, and based on the previews, looks like it would be the exact same scenario in the end. So without further ado, here are two GUEST reviews (one sort of favorable, one definitely not) of the new Trolls movie, something that should’ve been thought about and released back when they were still relevant in the 1990s:

TROLLS: WORLD TOUR – Guest Review #1 by Don Hernandez

The first major theatrical release to release via On Demand on the same day but likely not the last in this topsy turvy world of COVID-19.
Let me first start off by saying if you enjoyed the first Trolls movie, you should enjoy this one. If you didn’t and you are over the age of 14 then well it really wasn’t made for you. It was made for the children. Most of the cast is back lending their voices (led by the always charming Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake).

This time around, Queen Poppy (Kendrick) and Branch (Timberlake) finds out there are other kinds of trolls out there that dance to a different beat. Which is great except one group of Trolls wants to stop the music forever unless it’s Hard Rock. Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) is collecting the magic musical strings of each group of trolls to make all trolls part of her Rock N Roll army. Now Queen Poppy & Branch must seek out the other groups of trolls to stop Queen Barb. On their quest they’ll see that even though the music is different they all have a common bond.

This was a pretty decent sequel. I don’t think it is better than the original but it is serviceable and worth the watch if you enjoy kids movies. Kenan Thompson stole the show for me as a new character, Tiny Diamond.
Armed with a message of celebrating diversity and inclusion it stays light and doesn’t overpower you with that agenda to the point of eye rolling. The new songs “Other Side” and “Just Sing” are catchy and fit very well with the story. Probably my main issue with the movie is it seemed to move too quick on the “takeover” front. I’d have liked it a bit more drawn out than the brisk 90 mins allowed. Kids though won’t care, they’ll be dancing and singing most of the movie.

P.S. There is a small scene after the credits featuring The Bergens from first movie.

Trolls World Tour is available for rent for 48 hours on all major streaming sites for $19.99

Featuring the voice talents of
Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake,
Jame Corden, Rachel Bloom, Kunal Nayyar, Ron Funches, Kenan Thompson, Sam Rockwell, Kelly Clarkson, Mary J Blige, and Ozzy Osbourne.

TROLLS: WORLD TOUR Guest Review #2 by Dustin Bade

“Trolls, they wanna have fun……oh trolls, they wanna have fun….” Catchy? Yeah, I thought so too. *Newsflash* so do parents and kids. And while I thought it would be fun to pay $19.99 plus taxes and whatever fees, to watch the second installment of Trolls, boy was I ever wrong. To be fair, the kids watched all 90 minutes of it in their chairs. Michelle drew photos on her phone and I sat on the couch trying to watch but something kept happening to me. So my review of the movie goes like this:
An opening scene of Poppy, happy and singing a catchy song, morphs into an awkward scene in which Branch tries to tell her he likes her. Poppy learns that her tribe of pop trolls are not the only trolls in existence, but trolls of all musical genres exist in their own habitat, with the evil rock and roll trolls, wanting to conquer all at a concert. I hear her tell Branch “road trip” and then “zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” I wake up to hear some hick sounding trolls and what sounded like Kelly Clarkson singing a good albeit sad country song. Unless I was half dreaming, I swore she was on the heavier side and had 4 legs and big hair. I fall back asleep and wake up hearing J.Timberlake and Anna Kendrick singing a slow love song break up type song………..hear some other music in the background…….”zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” and then I wake up to the last scene and ending credits when my daughter says “that song is pretty.”

Not all sequels are bad, and not all movies need to be sequels. The Dark Knight was a sequel and easily the best (ever) sequel and certainly of that Batman franchise. Wall-E is good, but we don’t need another. I enjoyed Oceans 11 back in the day, but none of the others. Same with Fast and the Furious movies….the list goes on. Trolls didn’t need a sequel. The first one was cute in my opinion and had some cute laughs, catchy music and of course, more scenes with the “cloud.” It should have ended there….but it didn’t…..I mean after all, trolls just wanna have fun!

I wrote this at the request of a movie reviewer friend of mine who said he will not watch the movie and rightfully so. If all goes well, maybe I will be a ghost writer for him. I always had a passion for writing and story telling…..this could be my opportunity….or not!


Diane’s Delightful Movie Reviews: EMMA. (2020) (No Spoilers)

Hi there! This is Zach here really quick with my two cents (I usually do this at the end) before you read my wife’s review of EMMA. (2020), an opinion that you probably should pay more attention to more than mine, which is to say you should take mine with a giant ass grain of salt. Why? Because I thought it was only okay. I almost fell sleep throughout the first half until a dance ball in the middle of the film peaked my interest until the end credits. Not only that, but would you really trust the opinion of someone who A. Hasn’t read or seen any direct adaptation of it like the 90s Gweneth Paltrow version and more importantly B. halfway thru the film leans over to his wife and says, “I’m bored, this is too much like Clueless.”? Yes, I now know that Clueless was a modern adaptation of Emma and that it’s pretty damn stupid, ironic, yet funny that I didn’t know that shit before the film even started. Me being a movie fanatic and all. Even after knowing that fact, for me, this new version is still a passable, quirky, one time watch adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, where if I ever wanted to re visit the story again while being entertained, I wouldn’t watch this, but would just put in the Blu Ray I already own of Clueless. I thought the acting here was excellent, especially from Anya Taylor Joy and Mia Goth, and I liked the quirky humor, more the 2nd half than the first, the first half I felt tried a little too hard to yell at you how quirky it was. Ultimately though, I was a little disappointed. But it is far from a bad movie and won’t even touch my worst list of the year. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, period pieces are usually a big hit or a big miss from me. The recent Little Women was a big hit for me, this is one of the rare times it was somewhere in the middle. Okay, time for me to shut my big mouth and time for you to read a female’s more observant, honest perspective (yet much shorter than my reviews, which may be a good thing) of this adaptation, especially if you have any interest in seeing it at all:

Emma was cute, witty, and at its heart, had a good story. At first Emma is the character you want to hate. She is a spoiled little rich girl who thinks that everyone is her business and is too influential for any one to tell her off like she deserves. Through the movie she grows, eats her words and learns to put her friend’s needs before her own. It is a lesson in humility that many need to learn.

The romance factor is delightful. In a time when no one gets to afford love and most marriages are financially motivated Emma is able to find love in an unexpected place. In all, if you like period pieces or cute love stories, this one is for you. It entertained me because I love that sort of quick witted humor that is so subtle that if you blink you might miss it and think it’s boring. (cough cough Zach).

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews presents: IN FULL DEFENSE OF CATS (2019) by Gabriel Evans

IN FULL DEFENSE OF CATS (2019) by Gabriel Evans

It’s January 4th, and I just got out of a screening of Cats — and I’m not sure whether it’s (#1) my fully lowered expectations based on an almost unanimous critical and audience panning of this movie, or (#2) because I saw the stage musical for the first time this year and personally was genuinely confused by the plot or what was happening — but I think it actually worked as a movie.

Oh my gosh, he didn’t hate it. #shocking, or something.

Forever I have known Cats as the musical where people wear spandex and sing as cats on a stage, but really knew nothing more until this year. I remember watching the last season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Cats is used as a hilarious plot point, and then I got a little more of a glimpse at the freak show behind the curtain — and what I gleaned from that was that the musical has gone past the weird, eccentric, artsy beginnings and has transcended past parody as being “that weird cats musical with that ‘Memory’ song”, and now it is in that strange post-post modern period where it’s just something that didn’t need to be touched in any serious way, but now that it has been, it is in a new stage of parody – where people will fully brush it aside and laugh at the concept of it being made with their decision already made before entering the theatre, and may not want to recognize that it’s actually pretty well done and accomplishes a faithful adaptation of the source material and visualizes it in a way that makes it more comprehensible and entertaining than the stage production.

Hot take, I know.

When I think about how the movie came to exist, I’m only working with hypotheticals — but it seems to me like the movie musical we deserve right now from Hollywood. It’s a star-studded cast, with a Oscar-caliber director with a history of Oscar-winning musicals, with Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson singing the classic song, with new technology applied to actors and cool set designs…. If this movie had come out 10-20 years ago, it would be nominated for everything, but now we think we’re too cool for it — so now it’s garbage.

It’s funny, because last year Green Book won as Best Picture, and a lot of the same elements apply to people’s criticisms about that movie. It didn’t feel like Best Picture of 2018, it felt like Best Picture of 1998. The only main differentiators were that the director was a comedy director gone drama, and the writer ended up, let’s say, stretching the truth about the story. But structurally, Green Book works as a movie, and honestly, so does Cats.

Cats hate really feels like where we are in society right now – we’re just really divisive and have made up our minds without ever really giving it a chance. It’s like Cats is what a democrat thinks of when he turns on Fox News, and vice versa if you’re a republican. We can’t see past the poster, because we don’t want to. Cats is it’s own special kind of freak show, and we’re in the mindset to reject the freak right now. Any real message of seeing the true side of someone’s character in the Cats narrative is discounted, because we’ve all got a little bit of a fighting, close-minded bully in us right now.

Now, in terms of adaptations — I feel like there is more to be said for what works in Cats.

I remember leaving the stage production of Cats, and my review was “Oh, so it basically was a bunch of Cats singing introductory songs about each other” – and this movie takes that a step further and gives you the source material in a way that diversifies the visuals, expands the world into different environments, and makes the villain and general plot line comprehensible in a way that didn’t initially strike me during the stage production.

The source material isn’t really conducive to a movie plot, because each song is a different cat, and it probably would work better as some kind of short-form multi-episode web-series than a movie if you really step back and think about it — but as a feature adaptation of the musical – it does the absolute best it could do in translating the magic of Cats to the big screen.

All of the cats and the celebs playing them give personality to their characters, and you do get a sense of their celebrity enhancing the personality – whether it’s James Corden or Rebel Wilson, or even a British-accented Jason Derulo. The plot is linear with a clear antagonist and a ticking clock set for a climax at the end of the evening – so in terms of watchability, it’s not confusing narratively. The only thing to do to clarify the plot would be to put some kind of Star Wars type scroll at the beginning defining what a Jellicle cat is – because it’s such an important part that can be alienating to someone who has never heard or seen anything about the musical.

The effects were fine – I’m not sure if I saw the updated version or not, but I definitely did still see Judi Dench’s wedding ring, but they weren’t distracting. They felt like part of the style, and it was like they were animated cat people – which is the actual, obvious point. Did I feel like I was watching cats? No. Was I supposed to have the same feeling as the first time I saw Gollum in Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers? Absolutely not. We live in a world of CGI enhancements, and there’s plenty of examples of imperfect effects in all movies – from the most mainstream Marvel movie to the Gemini Man “groundbreaking” character work. If something is rushed or didn’t have the money behind it – it can look off. But nothing in Cats looked like The Rock in The Mummy Returns, and we can stop saying that it looks awful – because it doesn’t.

At the end of the day, it feels like Andrew Lloyd Weber was taking the right kind of drugs to find a human message to his Cats musical, and since 1981, the drugs have worn off. Now, we just replaced them with opioids, and we’re addicted to something new – which is a brand of close-minded narcissism – because honestly, they made a movie about singing and dancing cats, and that’s what you got.

And Tom Hooper did a good job, because at the end of the day, he learned from his mistake of putting Russell Crowe in Les Miserables and didn’t put someone who absolutely couldn’t sing at all in this movie —  and that deserves respect.