Will Arnett

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Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Published August 21, 2014 by mrsrag

Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Pete Ploszek/Johnny Knoxville, Jeremy Howard, Danny Woodburn/Tony Shalhoub,  Tohoru Masamune, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Rated: PG-13; Action/Adventure/Comedy; 101 minutes


I was a child of the ’90’s.  So, of course, I absolutely loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  And I still do.  I had the Gray Box Nintendo game, I went to see all of their movies and I owned plenty of TMNT themed toys.  I knew it was just a matter of time before Hollywood took another crack at bringing the oversized reptiles to the big screen.  Especially because our technology continues to improve and reach new milestones.  Are these the best looking ninja turtles I’ve ever seen?  Not necessarily.  I actually prefer the old cartoon-style crew.  But this film managed to capture the essence of each member while maintaining their naturally cheesy air.  The storyline even had a new plot twist explaining how the Ninja Turtles became mutated and why they ended up in the sewers.  Ninja Turtles were first spawned as an American comic created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.  In, none other than MRSRAG’s favorite year, 1984.  The history behind the creation of this series is actually an incredible story of two friends who were just brainstorming and goofing around.  Look it up on Wikipedia – it’s impressive.  I was pleasantly surprised by the new movie and would endorse it with their signature catch phrase: Cowabunga!

It seems like every time I’m lukewarm about seeing a movie, I end up loving  it.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is no exception.  Maria explained her reasons for wanting to go, and Ethan has become interested in them through their reincarnation on Nick.  Me?  I remember the 1990 version with Elias Koteas playing Casey Jones, as being pretty decent, but wasn’t sure how they were going to reinvent the wheel twenty four years later.  Well Casey Jones doesn’t even make an appearance here, and Maria mentioned the change in backstory, so this TMNT has a fresh coat of paint and shines bright in the 21st century.  Megan Fox as April O’Neil is, believe it or not, fantastic!  I know, right?  She was dreadful as Shia Labeouf’s eye candy love interest in the Transformer movies.  And failed horribly when given her own starring vehicle in the unwatchable Jennifer’s Body.  But I thought she turned a corner in This is 40, a movie I hated, but she stole the show with a small part that poked a bit of fun at her persona, and was easily the best part of that Apatow dud.  And she nails the Turtle’s pal April here in TMNT.  With her sidekick cameraman Vernon Fenwick (the always amazing Arnett), she is what drives the movie forward.  The Turtles themselves are buffed and badass, and their personalities haven’t changed much over the years.  The writing is crisp and the chemistry between the main players is natural and easy.  One negative: the casting of William Fichtner as seemingly good guy Eric Sacks was a horrible mistake.  The guy always plays an asshole, and we all knew instantly he was going to turn out to be a bad guy.  Dumb move.   

I was hoping they were going to pull a double switcheroo – and have him seem bad and then turn out good.  But they just stuck with his usual evil shenanigans.  I was really impressed with how they outfitted Shredder, donning head to toe shiny silver with retractable knives, the leader of the dreaded foot clan looks more dangerous and fearsome than ever.  Growing up I was a hardcore Leonardo fan, but in time I learned to love Michaelangelo.  He’s pure entertainment and provides a lot of the laughs here while swooning over Fox.  TMNT has always had the same formula – Raf acts like a jerk, Splinter almost dies and then one brother has to save the other three.  Ninja Turtles has never taken itself too seriously.  And that’s what is most important to keep in mind.  It’s fun.  And sometimes you just have to allow yourself to revert back to 8.  I felt like a kid again.  Oh, and there’s some rapping.

Michaelangelo, definitely my favorite, and I’m not even a stoner.  The bottom line here is this is one non-stop, funny, entertaining movie.  The Turtles kickass, the bad guys are super bad, and the special effects create scenes that are mesmerizing and jaw-dropping.  Raphael can still be a douchebag, but he comes around, and near the end when they thought they might die, he laid it all bare and had me on the verge of tears.  Seriously.  There’s no way you won’t have a good time at TMNT, unless you’re humorless with no imagination or sense of adventure, in which case you wouldn’t have gone in the first place.  So, bring your kids, have fun and then take them out for a “99 cheese pizza” after the show.  Wait, that’s physically impossible, isn’t it??

Maria’s Rating: 3.5 Gummy Bears out of 5.

Ross’ Rating: 3.75 Gummies.






Movie Review: The Lego Movie

Published February 12, 2014 by mrsrag

Starring the voices of: Chris Pratt, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Charlie Day, Nick Offerman, Shaquille O’Neil, Jonah Hill.

Rated: PG.  Animated/Comedy.  Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes.

Ross leaned over toward the end of the movie and said, “This may be the most clever kids movie I’ve ever seen…or the most clever movie ever.”  Which is saying a lot considering he’s seen a TON of movies, especially of the kid genre.  Clever is the best one word description of this film.  He wasn’t even looking forward to it as much as Ethan and I were.  As we walked to the car he declared, “Well, that was 1,000 times better than I thought it was going to be.”  The Lego Movie was full of fun, laughs and tons of heart.  The jokes were so high brow that out of a packed theatre, Ross and I found ourselves to be the only two hysterically laughing.  I’m not saying the two of us are ready to join Mensa, but these jokes were too funny not to be laughing if you understood them.  Some of my personal favorites were the references to things such as ‘Kragle’, an old tube of Krazy Glue with some illegible letters, the orb of ‘Titleist’ – an ordinary golf ball and the ‘Exact zero’ blade, an Exacto knife.  They flawlessly integrated these everyday household objects into the fantastical plot surrounding the Lego characters.  And the cast of Lego people included, but were not limited to the following: Batman, Wonder Woman, Abraham Lincoln, Gandalf, Superman, the Green Lantern, the Green Ninja, a bunch of Star Wars characters and the usual yellow-faced dudes.  One of which ends up fulfilling a prophecy about a master builder who will save the World.  Emmett is just a regular old construction worker who likes to follow the rules, enjoys his daily routine and just wants to make friends.  Until one day when he sets eyes on the girl of his dreams.  While in pursuit, he literally stumbles upon the ‘piece of resistance’ and is thrust into an unexpected adventure.

The “Polish (think Poland) Remover of Nigh-ell, for nail polish remover was one of my favorites!  Having watched Lego based shows Ninjago and The Legends of Chima on Cartoon Network with Ethan, I REALLY wasn’t expecting much from The Lego Movie, and as is often the case I was more than pleasantly surprised.  The voice actors  were perfectly cast here and the writing is off the charts.  Everyman hero Emmet (Pratt), Master Po-like mentor Vitruvius (Freeman), vibrant vixen Wyldstyle (Banks), her beau Batman (Arnett), Bad Cop/Good Cop (Neeson) and Lord Business/President Business (Ferrell) are the core of the movie, and they banter and battle their way through the land of Legos with blissful abandon.  I honestly can’t wait to see it again to memorize more of the classic lines.  And as if the whole romp wasn’t enough on it’s own, there is a spectacular twist at the end (that Maria mostly saw coming I might add), that brings it to an even higher level.  Go see The Lego Movie.  You’re kids will love it and if you keep your attention vigilant, you’ll hear some of the wittiest jokes and references since the Shrek series.  “I will repay you.  Unless of course I can’t find you, or I forget.” 

Much like Shrek, The Lego Movie is full of classics.  It definitely merits another watch.  Along with the witty jokes and clever plot, there is also a deeper allegory that focuses on conformity.  The underlying message being: be creative, think outside the box and don’t always follow the instructions.  This movie just makes you feel good after seeing it and it will make you laugh.  Something I think we could all use.  Just go see this movie because, “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME…”

“Everything is Awesome”, the signature song from the movie is a catchy, brainless ditty that you will find yourself humming on the way out.  We have seen some great animated films in the last year or so.  Wreck-It Ralph (which I thought should have definitely beat out Brave for Best Animated), Despicable Me 2, and the fantastic Frozen.  The Lego Movie fits in nicely with those gems.  First week gross was $69,000,00, easily outdistancing The Monuments Men $22,000,000.  It remains to be seen if TLM can catch Frozen’s $350,000,000 and counting, but I’m guessing word of mouth will push it to the stratosphere.  Would be absolutely shocked if we don’t see more from the land of interlocking blocks, and I for one can’t wait!  Who would of thought, little yellow people with “C’s”  for hands = box office gold?!  Awesome, indeed.

Maria’s Rating: 5 Gummy Bears out of 5.

Ross’ Rating: 4.5 Gummies.