Film Review: The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (dir by Mike Mitchell)


Sometimes, it’s hard not to feel that the Lego movies are their own worst enemy.

I mean, they’re just so cute and fun and likable and cheerfully dorky that it’s easy to overlook just clever they often are.  Everything is Awesome may have been a cute song but it was also a pitch perfect parody of mindless conformity.  And yes, The Lego Batman Movie got a lot of laughs out of Will Arnett’s guttural growl but it was also the best Batman film since The Dark Knight and it also had a lot to say about how lonely it can be when you’re an extremely paranoid super hero.  As for The Lego Ninjago Movie …. well, give me a minute and I’ll think of something.  Uhmmmm …. it had that cute kitty!  Woo hoo!

Beyond all that, all of the Lego movies — from the best to the less-than-the-best — celebrate imagination.  They celebrate being an individual and the joy of creating your own world as opposed to just conforming to someone else’s rules.  As much as I loved Chris Pratt as Emmett and Elizabeth Banks as Wyldstyle, the heart of the first Lego Movie is to be found in the scene where Will Ferrell essentially realizes that he’s being a jerk when he won’t let his son build what he wants to build.

That said, the main appeal of the Lego movies is that they’re incredibly cute.  Just take The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part for instance.  Especially when compared to the first Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie, this sequel has its flaws.  Admittedly, some of those flaws are unavoidable.  Just the fact that we start the movie knowing that everyone is in Will Ferrell’s house means that the sequel can’t take us as much by surprise as the first Lego Movie did.  Though the film’s original directors, Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, wrote the script and contribute some genuinely witty dialogue, the sequel’s pacing occasionally seems a little bit off.  There’s a few slow spots, the majority of which are really only noticeable when you compare the sequel to the flawlessly paced first film.  And yet, in the end, it’s such a cute movie that it’s easy to overlook those flaws.

The sequel begins immediately where the first ended, with Will Ferrell decreeing that both his son and his daughter are now allowed to play with his Lego collection.  Jump forward five years and this has basically led to chaos.  The Lego Universe is now a Mad Max-style wasteland.  Not surprisingly, both Wylstyle and Batman have really gotten into their new dystopian lifestyle.  Meanwhile, Emmett remains just as blindly cheerful and optimistic as ever.  He still feels that everything is awesome.

Or, at least Emmet feels that way until all of his friends are kidnapped to the Systar System, where Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish) wants to marry Batman.  Determined to rescue his friends, Emmett decides to travel to the Systar System himself.  Helping him out is Rex Dangervest, who seems like the type of adventurer that Emmett has always dreamed of becoming.  Chris Pratt voices both Rex and Emmett and the film has a lot of fun playing with Pratt’s post-Guardians of the Galaxy stardom.  Rex is not just an intergalactic explorer.  No, he’s also a cowboy, a dinosaur trainer, an archaeologist, a first baseman, and — we’re told — a script doctor.  (Those, of course, are references to Pratt’s roles in The Magnificent Seven, Jurassic World, and Moneyball.  Interestingly enough, his work in Passengers goes unmentioned.)  Rex pressures Emmett to become more cynical and ruthless in his efforts to save his friends and destroy the Systar System and Chris Pratt does a great job voicing both roles.  Indeed, if nothing else, this film will always stand as a tribute to the incredible and unending charm of Chris Pratt.

If Lego Movie 2 never reaches the glorious heights of the first film, that’s because the element of surprise has been lost.  There’s no moment  in the sequel that’s as memorable as when a live action Will Ferrell suddenly showed up in the first movie.  (In the second movie, Ferrell appears in a flashback and has a brief voice cameo as President Business.  Maya Rudolph does show up as his wife but the sequel’s live action scenes just don’t have the emotional impact of the first film’s.)  But, with all that in mind, it’s still an undeniably cute and entertaining movie.  All of your old favorites back — everyone from Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as Superman and Green Lantern to Alison Brie as Unikitty to Charlie Day as the astronaut. (Sadly, Liam Neeson did not return as the Good Cop/Bad Cop and his absence is felt.)  The film is full of clever parodies, my favorite being the references to Mad Max: Fury Road.  There’s more than enough witty lines, visual gags, and sweet moments that Lego Movie 2 will hold your interest and bring a smile to your face.

At the box office, Lego Movie 2 fell victim to the same Lego fatigue that took down the Lego Ninjago film and it did not become quite the phenomenon that the first movie did.  Regardless, it’s still a worthy sequel.  I wouldn’t quite say it’s awesome but it’s definitely a lot of fun.

Here Are The Online Film Critics Society Nominations!


The winners will be announced on December 28th.

It’s interesting to note that The Post is almost totally shut out here.  One thing I’ve noticed that critics who work for newspapers love The Post.  They see it as proof of their importance.  Online critics are far less impressed with The Post.  They tend to view it as a lament for a dead medium, a somewhat stodgy celebration of the past.  Whenever I finally get a chance to see The Post, I’ll let you know who’s right.

Best Picture
Call Me By Your Name
Dunkirk
The Florida Project
Get Out
A Ghost Story
Lady Bird
mother!
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Director
Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread
Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk
Jordan Peele – Get Out
Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

Best Actor
Timothée Chalamet – Call Me By Your Name
James Franco – The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour
Robert Pattinson – Good Time

Best Actress
Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water
Cynthia Nixon – A Quiet Passion
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie – I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird

Best Supporting Actor
Armie Hammer – Call Me By Your Name
Richard Jenkins – The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Patrick Stewart – Logan
Michael Stuhlbarg – Call Me By Your Name

Best Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige – Mudbound
Tiffany Haddish – Girls Trip
Holly Hunter – The Big Sick
Allison Janney – I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird

Best Ensemble
Get Out
Mudbound
Lady Bird
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Breakout Star
Timothée Chalamet – Call Me By Your Name
Tiffany Haddish – Girls Trip
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
Dafne Keen – Logan
Brooklynn Prince – The Florida Project

Best Original Screenplay
Jordan Peele – Get Out
Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor – The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards

Best Adapted Screenplay
Sofia Coppola – The Beguiled
James Ivory – Call Me By Your Name
Scott Nestadter and Micheal Weber – The Disaster Artist
James Gray – Lost City of Z
Aaron Sorkin – Molly’s Game

Best Editing
Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos – Baby Driver
Lee Smith – Dunkirk
Ben Safdie and Ronald Bronstein – Good Time
Tatiana S Riegel – I, Tonya
Sidney Wolinsky – The Shape of Water

Best Cinematography
Roger Deakins – Blade Runner 2049
Hoyte van Hoytema – Dunkirk
Darius Khondji – Lost City of Z
Rachel Morrison – Mudbound
Dan Laustsen – The Shape of Water

Best Animated Feature
Coco
The Breadwinner
In This Corner Of The World
The LEGO Batman Movie
Loving Vincent

Best Foreign Film
BPM (Beats Per Minute)
First They Killed My Father
Nocturama
Raw
The Square
Thelma

Best Documentary
Dawson City: Frozen Time
Ex Libris: The New York Public Library
Faces Places
Jane
The Work

Memorial Award
Jonathan Demme
John Hurt
Bill Paxton
George A. Romero
Harry Dean Stanton

Lifetime Achievement Award
Willem Dafoe
Daniel Day-Lewis
Roger Deakins
Christopher Plummer
Agnes Varda

The Las Vegas Film Critics Society Announces Their Picks For The Best of 2017!


The Las Vegas Film Critics Society has announced their picks for the best of 2017!

And what did they choose?

Look below to find out!

Best Picture
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Actor
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out

Best Actress
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actor
Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actress
Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird

Best Director
Guillermo Del toro – The Shape of Water

Best Screenplay (Original)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Screenplay (Adapted)
Call Me By Your Name

Best Cinematography
Blade Runner 2049

Best Film Editing
Baby Driver

Best Score
The Shape of Water

Best Song
“Remember Me” – Coco

Best Action Film
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Animated Film
Coco

Best Foreign Film
First They Killed My Father

Best Costume Design
Blade Runner 2049

Best Art Direction
Blade Runner 2049

Best Visual Effects
Blade Runner 2049

Best Comedy
The Big Sick

Best Horror / Sci-Fi
Get Out

Best Family Film
Coco

Best Ensemble
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Documentary
Jane

Breakout Filmaker
Jordan Peele – Get Out

Youth in Film
Brooklyn Prince – The Florida Project

William Holden Lifetime Achievement Award
Lois Smith

The Seattle Film Critics Name Get Out The Best of 2017!


“Get out!”

That’s not just what the city of Seattle told Mayor Ed Murray earlier this year.  It’s also the title of the film that the Seattle Film Critics have officially selected as their pick for the best of 2017!

Check out their nominees here and the winners below!

BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR

Get Out (Universal)

BEST DIRECTOR

Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE

Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE

Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE

Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE

Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST

Get Out

BEST SCREENPLAY

Lady Bird – Greta Gerwig

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Coco – Adrian Molina, Lee Unkrich, directors

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Raw – Julia Ducournau, director

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Faces Places – JR, Agnès Varda, co-directors

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Blade Runner 2049 – Roger A. Deakins

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Phantom Thread – Mark Bridges

BEST FILM EDITING

Dunkirk – Lee Smith

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Phantom Thread – Jonny Greenwood

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Blade Runner 2049 – Dennis Gassner (Production Designer); Alessandra Querzola (Set Decorator)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

War for the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist

BEST YOUTH PERFORMANCE (18 years of age or younger upon start of filming)

Brooklynn Prince – The Florida Project

VILLAIN OF THE YEAR

Dennis and various multiple personalities – Split – portrayed by James McAvoy

Here Are The Nominees From The Women Film Critics Circle!


The Women Film Critics Circle has announced their nominations for the best of 2017!  The winners will be named next week!

BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN

BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN

  • “Detroit”
  • “First They Killed My Father”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “Mudbound”

BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER [Screenwriting Award]

  • Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
  • Maggie Greenwald, “Sophie And The Rising Sun”
  • Dee Rees, “Mudbound”
  • Angela Workman, “The Zookeeper’s Wife”

BEST ACTRESS

  • Sally Hawkins, “Maudie”
  • Sally Hawkins, “The Shape Of Water”
  • Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Cynthia Nixon, “A Quiet Passion”

BEST ACTOR

  • Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
  • Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
  • Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
  • Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

BEST YOUNG ACTRESS (Under 21)

  • Seo-Hyun Ahn, “Okja”
  • Mckenna Grace, “Gifted”
  • Brooklynn Prince, “The Florida Project”
  • Millicent Simmonds, “Wonderstruck”

BEST COMEDIC ACTRESS

  • Tiffany Haddish, “Girls Trip”
  • Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
  • Margo Robbie, “I, Tonya”
  • Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

BEST FOREIGN FILM BY OR ABOUT WOMEN

  • “A Fantastic Woman”
  • “First They Killed My Father”
  • “In The Fade”
  • “Thelma”

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women:

  • “Maudie”
  • “The Light Of The Moon”
  • “The Rape Of Recy Taylor”
  • “Wind River”

*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: For best expressing the woman of color experience in America

  • “Girls Trip”
  • “Mudbound”
  • “Step”
  • “The Rape Of Recy Taylor”

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: For best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity

  • “Battle Of The Sexes”
  • “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story”
  • Mudbound
  • “The Post”

COURAGE IN ACTING [Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen]

  • Sally Hawkins, “Maudie”
  • Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Michelle Rodriguez, “The Assignment”
  • Charlize Theron, “Atomic Blonde”

COURAGE IN FILMMAKING

  • Amma Asante, “A United Kingdom”
  • Kathryn Bigelow, “Detroit”
  • Angelina Jolie, “First The Killed My Father”
  • Dee Rees, “Mudbound

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AWARD [Supporting performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored]

BEST DOCUMENTARY BY OR ABOUT WOMEN

  • “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story”
  • “Faces Places”
  • “Jane”
  • “Step”

WOMEN’S WORK: BEST ENSEMBLE

BEST FEMALE ACTION HERO

  • “Atomic Blonde”
  • “In The Fade”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • Wonder Woman

BEST EQUALITY OF THE SEXES

  • “Atomic Blonde”
  • “Battle Of The Sexes”
  • “Professor Marston And The Wonder Women”
  • Wonder Woman

BEST SCREEN COUPLE

BEST ANIMATED FEMALE(S)

  • “Coco”
  • “Loving Vincent”
  • “The Breadwinner”
  • “Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming”

BEST FAMILY FILM

Here Are The Nominations From The Houston Film Critics!


This year, Houston proved once again that Texas is better than the upper 48.  In the face of adversity, Texans came together and helped each other out and basically but the rest of America to shame.

Then to top it all off, The Houston Film Critics got together and came up with an intriguing list of the films and performances that they consider to be the best of 2017!

Love you, Houston!

Here are their nominations:

Picture:
The Big Sick
Call Me By Your Name
Dunkirk
The Florida Project
Get Out
Lady Bird
Logan
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Director:
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Steven Spielberg, “The Post”

Actor:
Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Robert Pattinson, “Good Time”
Andy Serkis, “War for the Planet of the Apes

Actress:
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Brooklyn Prince, “The Florida Project”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

Supporting Actor:
Willem Defoe, “The Florida Project”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Patrick Stewart, “Logan
Michael Stuhlbarg, “Call Me By Your Name”

Supporting Actress:
Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Dafne Keen, “Logan
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Screenplay:
“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Post,” Elizabeth Hanna and Josh Singer
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh

Cinematography:
Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Call Me By Your Name,” Sayombhu Mukdeeprom
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen
“Wonder Wheel,” Vittoria Storaro

Animated Film:
“The Breadwinner”
“Coco”
“Despicable Me 3”
The Lego Batman Movie
“Loving Vincent”

Original Score:
Blade Runner 2049,” Ben Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer
“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“The Post,” John Williams
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
War for the Planet of the Apes,” Michael Giacchino

Best Original Song:
“Evermore” (“Beauty and the Beast”)
“I Get Overwhelmed” (“A Ghost Story”)
“Never Forget” (“Murder on the Orient Express”)
“Remember Me” (“Coco”)
“Visions of Gideon” (“Call Me By Your Name”)

Foreign Language Film:
“BPM”
“Blade of the Immortal”
“First They Killed My Father”
“The Square”
“Thelma”

Documentary Feature:
“Faces Places”
“Jane”
“Kedi”
“Step”
“The Work”

Visual Effects:
Blade Runner 2049
“The Shape of Water”
War for the Planet of the Apes

Poster:
Baby Driver
It
“Logan Lucky”
“Mother”
“The Shape of Water”

Texas Independent Film Award:
A Ghost Story
“Mr. Roosevelt”
“Mustang Island”
“The Secret Life of Lance Letscher”
Song to Song

Here Are The Chicago Film Critics Association Nominations!


Okay, only a few more precursors to go and we’ll be caught up.

Yesterday, The Chicago Film Critics Association announced their nominees for the best of 2017!  I’m happy that they did so because it gives me an excuse to use that picture of Al Capone that I use whenever I post anything about the Chicago Film Critics.

Here are their nominees!

Best Picture
“Call Me By Your Name”
“Dunkirk”
“Lady Bird”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best Director
Guillermo Del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Luca Guadagnino, “Call Me By Your Name”
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”

Best Actress
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Vicky Krieps, “Phantom Thread”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

Best Actor
Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Harry Dean Stanton, “Lucky”

Best Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”

Best Supporting Actor
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Armie Hammer, “Call Me By Your Name”
Jason Mitchell, “Mudbound”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Michael Stuhlbarg, “Call Me By Your Name”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Call My By Your Name”
“The Disaster Artist”
“Logan”
“Mudbound”

Best Original Screenplay
“The Big Sick”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best Animated Film
“The Breadwinner”
“Coco”
“The LEGO Batman Movie”
“Loving Vincent”
“Your Name”

Best Documentary
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“City of Ghosts”
“Ex Libris: New York Public Library”
“Faces Places”
“Jane”
“Kedi”

“BPM (Beats Per Minute)”
“A Fantastic Woman”
“Loveless”
“Raw”
“The Square”

Best Art Direction
“Beauty and the Beast”
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Dunkirk”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Shape of Water”

Best Editing
“Baby Driver”
“Call Me By Your Name”
“Dunkirk”
“The Florida Project”
“Get Out”

Best Original Score
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Dunkirk”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Shape of Water”
“War For the Planet of the Apes”

Best Cinematography
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Dunkirk”
“The Florida Project”
“Mudbound”
“The Shape of Water”

Breakthrough Performer
Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
Dafne Keen, “Logan”
Jessie Pinnick, “Princess Cyd”
Brooklynn Prince, “The Florida Project”
Florence Pugh, “Lady Macbeth”
Bria Vinaite, “The Florida Project”

Breakthrough Filmmaker
Kogonada, “Columbus”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
John Carroll Lynch, “Lucky”
Julia Ducournau, “Raw”