Movie Review – 14 Thoughts About The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

SPOILER WARNING – THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR WARNER BROS. PICTURES’ NEW FILM THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART

My whole family loved The LEGO Movie.

It looked amazing, the story was fantastic, and all of those pop culture icons crossing over with each other was mind-blowing. We’ve watched it several times, we bought the sets, and we played the video game. That movie wildly exceeded our expectations, but it wasn’t just because it was better than it had any right to be, it was because it’s a legitimately great movie.

That was five years ago.

My son is eleven now and, like many formerly favorite toy lines (RIP Imaginext), LEGO isn’t on his radar like it used to be. He was still excited about the movie and the tie-in video game, but our level of immersion into the worlds of LEGO just isn’t what it was in 2014. As a result I haven’t really been as excited about this sequel. Watching your children grow up is wonderful but also brutal, and each passing day brings more reminders that things will never be the way they were.

In short, everything is not awesome.

Another factor in my lack of excitement for The LEGO Movie 2 is that sequels to family films tend to not be very good. The decline in quality is typically pretty severe, even more so than other types of films. On top of that I didn’t particularly love The LEGO  Batman Movie and I thought The LEGO Ninjago Movie was absolutely terrible.

I still had hope for this sequel – after all, the writers of the original movie were back where they belonged – but I can’t say I was genuinely excited beyond the fact that I knew we were going to see it as a family. And family events are always something I look forward to.

Did Phil Lord and Christopher Miller bring it once again? Was it even possible for this sequel to live up to the excellent standard set by the original? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Movie Review – 14 Thoughts About The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part”

Beth’s Best of 2018

I’m back baby! That was an extended hiatus, but the end of 2018/start of 2019 was horrible for me. Sickness and death, and all manner of garbage. Seems like a good time to finally post my 2018 recap and put the year behind me. We’ve done the podcast, but given the number of people that were on (and the way that Dave looked at me for talking about Star Wars as I did) now is my chance to elaborate. There are also some things that came out in 2018 that I hadn’t seen when we recorded so I can talk about those now too. Plus, with everything that’s happened since, that podcast seems like it was recorded a lifetime ago. So here’s my good, meh, and ugly from 2018 in no particular order. Sorry if I repeat from the podcast, but I promise it’ll be worth reading even if you’ve already listened. Well, I promise it’ll have enough differences or new content. I never promise that I’ll write something worth reading. Continue reading “Beth’s Best of 2018”

Movie Review – 13 Thoughts About Bumblebee

SPOILER WARNING – THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR Paramount PICTURES’ NEW FILM BUMBLEBEE

The Transformers have had quite a rollercoaster ride at the cinema. That seemed to have peaked in 1986.

I’m not, of course, talking about box office. Regardless of their quality of lack thereof, Michael Bay’s Transformers films have been ridiculously successful. Altogether the movies – often referred to as “Bayformers” with no small amount of derision – have grossed nearly five billion dollars.

Whatever form it took, this mega-successful franchise was not going away.

I like some of the movies more than others – with Revenge of the Fallen being a low point not just for the franchise, but for the history of film in general – but could never make the argument that they are doing a good job at representing the property. At best they’re jam-packed but forgettable action flicks, at worst they’re racist, hard to follow, and utterly lacking in charm.

In a move that shocked everyone, Paramount announced a soft reboot starring the most popular Transformer – Bumblebee – that would scale the franchise back, represent the fan-favorite 80s era, and be in the hands of a filmmaker who could hardly be considered experienced as far as blockbusters go. Director Travis Knight has worked in animation for years and helmed the excellent Kubo and the Two Strings, but had no live action on his resume. Putting the next Transformers film in his hands was a huge leap of faith.

Did it pay off or is the franchise in the same sorry shape The Last Knight left it in? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Movie Review – 13 Thoughts About Bumblebee”

Movie Review – 16 Thoughts About Aquaman

SPOILER WARNING – THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR WARNER BROS.’ NEW FILM AQUAMAN

Whatever people may think about the DC movies so far, it’s almost universally agreed upon that Jason Momoa is a sexy hunk of man beef.

Oh, and that he’s been pretty fun on screen as Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman.

To say I’m surprised to be writing about a big-screen Aquaman movie would be an understatement. And just a few years ago the idea that Aquaman would have a brighter cinematic future than Superman or even Batman would have seemed absurd. But thanks to severe mishandling by Warner Bros. and fans’ taste for derision bandwagons, that’s where we are.

The first trailer for this movie was nothing short of breathtaking, promising huge action, bright colors, and sexy leads. Everyone here at Needless Things was absolutely delighted and immediately granted Momoa permission to come aboard.

Were we too hasty or did the charming fish man earn his entry into our hearts? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Movie Review – 16 Thoughts About Aquaman”

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Dumbledore

Because the only reason I saw Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald in the theater was the promise of it having something to do with Dumbledore. I guess I’m a sucker since the movie was basically stuff, stuff, stuff – Dumbledore! Then stuff, stuff, stuff – oh hey, it’s Hogwarts! Followed by stuff, stuff, and more stuff – but there’s Dumbledore again! If you’ve read the books or seen all of the Harry Potter movies a billion times as I have you know that Dumbledore is famous for defeating Grindlewald (basically the Voldemort of his time). So why does the guy who wrote one of the Hogwarts textbooks get all the screen time? I didn’t hate this the way some people I know did, but I was certainly disappointed. It’s been out almost a month so I can’t imagine I’d be giving any spoilers by now, but considering that it’s the first of a two parter there isn’t much to spoil anyway. Continue reading “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Dumbledore”

Movie Review – 15 Thoughts About Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

SPOILER WARNING – THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR SONY PICTURES’ NEW FILM SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

When you’ve got an eleven-year-old son who is hugely into Spider-Man, it doesn’t really matter if the trailers for the new animated Spider-Man movie appeal to you or not. Unless you’re an asshole, you’re going to see it.

Fortunately for me, I was very excited by the trailers for Into the Spider-Verse.

I love the wave of comic book inspired films we’ve been getting for the past decade, but no matter how much you’re enjoying it, there’s no denying the fact that there’s a certain safe sameness about most of the movies. Even with the seemingly huge differences between Marvel and DC films, if we’re being honest they’re all playing the same game.

Sony’s newest Spider-Man film, on the other hand, looked to be trying something very different. It’s animated, but didn’t seem to be marketed towards children as specifically as, say, The LEGO Movies. Its focus is on a younger protagonist that fans have been clamoring for, but that might be unfamiliar to most audiences.

Before you argue that point with me, remember that there are still many people out there who think of every Batman movie from 1989 to now as being connected. These people have never heard of Miles Morales. The idea of there being more than one Spider-Man is foreign. At best they might know that Peter Parker has worn multiple suits or that there has been a Spider-Woman at some point.

Fans might complain about Sony’s past treatment of Spider-Man, but it seemed they were attempting something new and, quite frankly brave, with Into the Spider-Verse.

Did the seeming risks – unique animation style, new character, unconnected universe – pay off or should they have played it safe? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Movie Review – 15 Thoughts About Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”