Movie Reviews

The Lego Movie
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Warner Bros.
In Theaters: 02.07

The directing team who brought us Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street has entered the block-filled world of Legos where “Everything is Awesome.” Emmet Brickowski (voiced by Chris Pratt) is a simple-minded construction worker who is mistaken as “The Special,” the prophesized individual who is the most interesting and talented person in the world and can stop the destruction of their world from Lord Business (voiced by Will Ferrell). Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller lead this 3D adventure that mimics stop-motion animation to invoke the sensation that these beloved toys are actually coming to life. Any fan of pop culture will find sheer bliss with the inclusion of multiple DC characters, including a cocky Batman (voiced by Will Arnett), Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. There are many, many, many more cameos, but I refuse to ruin the surprise. The levels of humor reach every age group, which make it the perfect family film. Anyone walking out of this film without a smile on their face needs to seek medical attention immediately. Along with the humor, the surprise twist ending actually caught this critic off guard, which only made me squeal for more. It’s hilarious, sincere and a breath of fresh air in a genre that is usually clouded with fart jokes. –Jimmy Martin

That Awkward Moment
Director: Tom Gormican
Focus Features
In Theaters: 01.31

First off, no film should ever be based off a viral video or an Internet meme. It’s almost as bad as basing your film off a board game. With that said, and I’m sure you know where this review is going, let me introduce you to Jason (Zac Efron), Daniel (Miles Teller) and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan). These three best friends, after offending and losing their most recent significant others, make a commitment to end their desires for commitments and remain as “playas” for the end of time. How frat brothers–ish of you! Obviously, each one finds “the one” in some manifestation or another, but since they’re such great friends, they have to keep it a secret. Shhhh! Don’t tell anybody! There is not one person in this trio that deserves happiness. OK, maybe Mikey, whose wife is an asshole, but since he’s friends with Jason and Daniel … nope! Each of these potential roofie enthusiasts reeks of Abercrombie and Douche. Also, if you’re going to receive an “R” rating from the ever-so fair MPAA, use your rating! Rather than wasting your time with this abysmal excuse of a film, go down to whichever watering hole houses the most greasy, popped-collar gal gazers and watch the hilarity ensue in 3D. You’ll be better off for it. –Jimmy Martin



Awful Nice
Director: Todd Sklar
In Theaters: 03.08

After their father passes, leaving them the family’s lake house as their inheritance, brothers Jim (James Pumphrey) and Dave (Alex Rennie) Brouillette travel to Branson, MO to sell the place off and get a couple of fat checks. But upon their arrival, their father’s old business partner, Jon—played humorously by a toupeed-up Christopher Meloni—informs them that the lake house needs to be fixed up before they can sell it, and they decide to take on the job themselves. Though Jim and Dave’s constant verbal arguments, physical fights and over-the-top brotherly competition might just prove that the only thing standing in their way … is themselves. There are a few points where character motivation feels stiff and the dialogue isn’t perfect, but Pumphrey and Rennie are both brilliant in their portrayals of brotherly “love” and, since Awful Nice is mostly just the two of them awkwardly and hilariously smacking each other around, the film works overall. Director Todd Sklar did an awfully nice (hey-oh!) job of capturing not just the beauty that is a brotherly smack-down, but also the beauty that is Branson—the city, and the brothers’ memories of the city, practically becomes its own character. Awful Nice screened at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival and will enjoy a limited theatrical release in March, 2014, but you can check it out now on Amazon or iTunes, or on DVD come May—which you should do for Rennie’s physical comedy alone. That man takes a beating for the sake of a laugh. –John Ford