22 Jump Street
Awesome. Most of the time, it was making fun of itself. Making fun of its expectations as a comedy sequel. Making fun of the fact that it got a bigger budget to work with. Making fun of the very similar story, and the fact that audiences came to see the same thing all over again. The whole 9 yards. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are an unstoppable comedy duo. Tatum is sarcastic, and his dumb jock persona is perfect. Hill is his more feminine equal. But like all awesome comedies, it’s also the minor roles (Nick Offerman and Ice Cube) and cameos (won’t spoil those for you) that get some major laughs. You go for the non-stop comedy, but you stay for the exciting action that actually keeps you intrigued while you’re laughing. Kudos. 7.5/10.
The Lego Movie
I wish all animated movies were a little more like this. Not the animation itself, since I’ve never been a fan of Lego animation (it’s blocky and not as fluent as traditional animation…though I respect the effort the animators made to craft their movie like a master-level Lego build). Anyway, I just wish they were able to entertain everyone of all ages like “The Lego Movie” can. References to the ’80s, early ’00s, and today let multiple generations in on the tremendous fun. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller also co-directed and co-wrote “22 Jump Street,” and their obvious comedic talent is undeniably ingrained in “The Lego Movie” as well. The script is more comedic than most live-action comedies, and the incredible voice acting talents of A-listers like Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, and Will Arnett don’t hurt. Ferrell, honestly, gives one of the funniest voice performances I’ve seen in a long time. His personality shines through the yellow, plastic Lego face he’s hiding behind. And the story is totally original, yet with universal themes. 7.5/10.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
I’ve never been much a fan of Wes Anderson movies. Too much focus on carefully crafted sets, not enough on creating relevant characters. But each movie of his that I watch turns me a little more in his direction. I’m starting to buy into it. In “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Anderson recycles some of his favorites (Edward Norton, Adrien Brody) and adds some newbies in an ensemble worth seeing. Ralph Fiennes is magnetic as the lovable concierge of the Grand Budapest Hotel. But sometimes the life he leads isn’t free from drama. Now, a unique story isn’t rare for Wes Anderson…but in this case I took a keener interest than ever before. The cinematagraphy and set design are unbeatable. Heck. I promise, I’m not becoming a Wes Anderson fan…I don’t think. But then again… 7/10.