Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending is the next film from the Wachowskis, who’ve brought us The Matrix series, V For Vendetta, Cloud Atlas, and Speed Racer, among others. Nothing they do is simple. They definitely swing for the fences in every project they’ve made, and Jupiter Ascending is no exception to that rule. This Science Fiction epic contains a lot of detail, whether it’s needed or not.

That said, the plot is relatively straightforward. Mila Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, a maid who lives in Chicago. Through a set of convoluted circumstances, she is the heir to a dynasty that has existed for thousands of millenia. Humanity, as it turns out, did not come into existence on Earth first, but has been around elsewhere for a very long time. There are currently three siblings within the dynasty who need her, and each attempts to take her from Earth, to serve their own selfish reasons.

The one that succeeds sends a ‘hunter’, played by Channing Tatum, who is a half-human/half wolf hybrid. While others are trying to kill her, he wants to protect her, for his own reasons. Deals are made, and double crossings emerge. Sean Bean also plays a role, but I will not divulge his fate. There are dire circumstances that push the story to its conclusion. In My Opinion, the end leaves open the possibility of a sequel, but I suspect that it will never happen.

Jupiter Ascending started as a good idea, but just became too much. This movie is a cacophony of ideas that don’t entirely mix well. Many of them spill onto the screen, and only some are played out. Others just end, and are forgotten, perhaps because they were cut for time. The movie, as it is, runs for 127 minutes, but it probably could’ve used another half hour to 45 minutes to resolve the other bits of story. I had a lot of questions leaving the theater about the movie, most of which were about the storyline, but there were some were regarding why this film was made the way it was. JA is visually stunning, and may have looked better in 3D, but in the 2D version I saw, the overuse of shaky-cam for all the action scenes really ruined my appreciation of this movie.

I cannot recommend this movie. I can admit to being disappointed, but I also can’t really say it’s bad. I leave it up to you to decide for yourselves.

The Wedding Ringer

The Wedding Ringer is the latest in a stream of Kevin Hart movies. In this one, he plays Jimmy Callihan, a guy who runs a service for men. He plays a fill-in guy friend, for when those men need someone to fill out their wedding party. He will pretend to be someone’s lifelong friend, and stand up for them at the wedding, usually as Best Man. He spends the time to get to know the groom, spends a few days preparing beforehand, even going so far as to fake some events they shared, to build the backstory of the character he plays. Once the wedding and reception are over, he’s off to his next client, with no one but the groom any wiser.

The movie starts with him meeting his next client, Doug Harris (played by Josh Gad). Doug is a lawyer, who took over his father’s firm after he passed away. He devoted his life to the firm, and nothing else. No family, and no time for friendships. Somewhere in there, he met Gretchen Palmer (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), and they are going to be married in two weeks. He needs seven groomsman, and FAST. Jimmy calls this the Holy Grail of cons, and admits no one has ever pulled it off. Does it happen? Does it work? You’ll have to see for yourself.

This movie follows the rom-com scheme movie trope, where the protagonists create a deception in order to seal a relationship deal. The movie is a bit crude, but not continuously. This movie runs at a brisk pace, and it’s suited to Hart’s fast-talking style of comedy. There’s a lot of ground to cover, and, it all seems plausible, but more importantly, it works. There are many moving parts and they mesh well. The groomsmen are a motley crew, each with their own diverse background. I have to admit I’ve disliked Josh Gad for a while, mainly for ruining the show 1600 Penn. I dismissed him as an annoying Jonah Hill wannabe, but his performance here is decent, passable, even. Hart and Gad have decent bro-chemistry. There are some cameos here that were a surprise, and actually fit the story, given the circumstances. I’ll not spoil them here.

There is additional footage at the end of the credits, if you want to sit and wait for it.


The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water

Yes, I saw it. Yes, it was funny and entertaining.  Yes, I do recommend it.

SpongeBob Squarepants, as you know, is an animated cartoon on Nickelodeon. He lives in Bikini Bottom, in a pineapple under the sea. He has a pet snail named Gary. His best friend is a Starfish named Patrick. He works as a cook at The Krusty Krab, frying up Krabby Patties. Yes, I said frying. They have fires underwater. They have electricity under water. They use paper, too. There are some things you just don’t ask about when discussing his world.

SpongeBob was never really intended for adults, and yet, many enjoy it. SpongeBob and Patrick are definitely children. Man children, but definitely children. They are also hedonists, and always have their own interests in the forefront. They don’t often care about the bigger things, and certainly live in the moment. They are absurd. They are ridiculous. The show definitely has a certain silliness to it that reminds me of the old Looney Toons shorts. Some jokes and gags work on several levels

That said, The SpongeBob Movie starts in the real world, with a pirate (Antonio Banderas) stealing a treasure chest. In there, he finds a book, and starts telling a tale about SpongeBob to his seagull ‘friends’. SpongeBob’s nemesis, Plankton has mounted an attack on the Krusty Krab, in yet another attempt to steal the secret formula to Krabby Patties. At the last moment, when victory is within his grasp, the secret formula disappears from his hands. The loss of this secret formula plunges the whole town into a panic, forcing SpongeBob and Plankton to work together to find it and restore order. Their travels force them to go ashore, into the real world.

There are a lot of sight gags, and there’s a lot of kidding around. This movie is clearly for the kids, but adults will not be bored, nor will they feel like they are enduring something just to appease their children. I went alone, and did not have any regrets. I suspect you will, too.