Frozen II

by Kdub the Dreary Jester

I’ve seen this trailer exactly 617 times since it’s release.

Look out Penguin Army!!! We saw Frozen II and it’s time to squawk dirty about it. 

Let me start out by saying that I saw a tweet that perfectly sums up how I feel about this movie.

That said, I had such a great time at this movie. Queen Jessi won pre-screen tickets to see the movie on the Tuesday before anybody else. I guess if The Dirty Penguin was more than a third-rate movie review blog and podcast, I would have written a review sooner than now to be “ahead of the media buzz”. You know that The Dirty Penguin doesn’t work like that though. The Dirty Penguin waddles its own way.

Back to Frozen Deaux…

As previously mentioned, Queen Jessi won prescreen tickets but was stuck rescuing orphans from burning buildings while feeding the hungry and getting the laundry done so she asked if I could take our daughter, Princess Maymay, to see the movie in her stead. As a dutiful Father/Jester, I jumped at the opportunity to take my young daughter to see her favorite Disney Princess embark on another adventure. After a long day of school, I picked up Princess Maymay and we set out on our special movie date. On the ride, we listened to the Frozen soundtrack to be ready and she told me (between songs, of course) how Anna is her favorite, even though most people like Elsa more. 

We got to the theater and had to leave our phones with the management so we had no opportunity to pirate the movie, or else I’d totally hook you up. The theater wasn’t packed. There were some local move reviewers and special invite guests. We were early, and excited, so it was difficult to stay in our seats, there were other kids there dressed as Elsa. Princess Maymay reminded me that I forgot to pack her frozen dress several times that night, and still does today. She gets that from Queen Jessi. 

When the movie started, my daughter was locked in. I know she was super tired but she was in it for the long haul. From the opening number with Anna and Olaf and the rest of the gang, Maysen was bought in. At one point in the movie, Princess Maymay turned to me and said, “daddy, I’m tired.” I asked her if she wanted to leave but she gave me a look like I was absolutely crazy. Another valuable skills learned from Queen Jessi.  Princess Maymay laughed and did magic snow stuff like Elsa on the screen. (We had nobody sitting immediately near us so it was ok to break etiquette a little!)

I won’t go into spoilers, I’ll let you see it for yourself. My feelings about the movie aside, I had a great time seeing my daughter watch her favorite hero’s adventures on the big screen for the first time… and Anna & Elsa’s adventures were pretty good too.

The Lighthouse

A review by Jessica Waites, Queen Majesty of Waiteslandia

Although I fancy myself an enlightened, philosophizing person, sometimes things just go straight over my head. Like this movie, The Lighthouse. 

I will start by saying I love that it’s shot in black and white. There are some scenes where you’d think you were watching a 1920’s European horror film. Now, I know black and white movies have fallen out of favor but I urge any person who claims to be a movie lover to not look at it as a drawback, but as something to embrace for new and older films. 

So get out there and watch Casablanca dammit!

Now back to The Lighthouse.

We start with an opening shot of the two men we follow through the entire movie. Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) and Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson). Ephraim is Thomas’ newest assistant to help take of thee ol’ lighthouse. (I personally enjoyed Dafoe’s special attention to the presumed accent of an 1890’s sailor).

Right away, Thomas crosses the lines of societal politeness with his unapologetic flatulence. Then after Ephraim declines a drink of alcohol at dinner, Thomas demands a good reason. After the first night, things go from “unfortunate living situation” to “Stop the insanity!”. We see snippets of dreams and delusions, brought on by feelings of guilt and loneliness. There’s also a power struggle between Ephraim and Thomas where Ephraim does not want to be a “wife” and Thomas demands the lighthouse quarters be nothing but clean and orderly. When an order is given, Ephraim is to respond dutifully with “Aye Sir”. 

Overall thoughts: I personally think an understanding of sailor lore and the Greek Mythology  (Prometheus/Proteus) would add an extra layer of understanding to the subject matter that plays out on screen. However, I did not do any pre-game study sessions and I did enjoy the beauty of the film and the wackier moments shared between Thomas and Ephraim. Ephraim’s backstory offers up an explanation for his psychological well-being, while extreme drinking practices (knocking back Kerosene) help us understand the increasing mental fragility of the two lead characters. If you like movies where down is up, and up is down, set in a lonely atmosphere with a dark, ominous tone, go see this. The leading men did a great job and I do love when Willem Dafoe incorporates any of his dance moves into a film. Once it was over though, I did not get the sufficient answers I needed to qualify this as a superbly made movie, but for its artful nature, interesting characters, and tense atmosphere, I give it one flipper up.


The Joker

An origin story that is sadder and more tragic than just a man warped by his own insanity.

Sir Douglas G. Harms, esq., The Dirty Penguin Presents: Movies!!

When the Joker was originally announced that it would be a standalone story outside the current DC universe which would be different from Jared Leto’s portrayal of the clown prince of crime, one is left wondering if it was really necessary or needed. When it was announced that Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator, Her, Walk the Line) would star with Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Old School) directing, the buzz for this film grew exponentially. Would this movie live up to the hype? The answer is a resounding yes. 

Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck tries to make it in a Gotham that is heartless to the downtrodden and helpless. Set in the early 80’s as a mirror to the rough New York City streets at the time, Fleck works at a clown service company. His mental illness which includes the symptom of laughing uncontrollably in stressful situations makes life difficult. As a series of unfortunate events sends him in a downward spiral, Fleck is pushed further and further to a breaking point as he becomes more and more isolated.

Phillips imbues the film with a grittiness of the city and crafts a well-done character study of one of the most well-known villains of all time. The difficulty of making the Joker his own character is quite a feat for Phoenix since he is following the footsteps of the insanity of Ledger, the fun of Nicholson, and the unfortunateness of Leto. He succeeds in giving a performance of the Joker whose origin is sadder and more tragic than just a man warped by his insanity. Expect to see him nominated for this performance this award season.

Joker is enthralling and leaves the audience guessing through some twists. It would be nice if they used this for the basis of the new Batman with Robert Pattinson, but since Warner Bros is involved, they most likely follow their huge pattern of mistakes and leave this a standalone while pushing the new stuff into DCU. One can hope.

9/10 igloos

AD ASTRA

Brad Pitt takes an introspective, existential journey through space that delivers visually, but leaves the viewer wanting more of something

-Doug, The Dirty Penguin Presents

Set in the near future, Ad Astra is a character study of the “perfect” astronaut, Pitt’s Roy McBride. He undertakes a mission to find his father (Tommy Lee Jones), who’s space station is threatening the world. As an astronaut who has sacrificed a wife and essentially all emotions much like his father before him, Pitt is sent to Mars via the Moon to send a message to his father to find out what is going on. Jones’ space station set out for the orbit of Neptune 30 years prior to search for extraterrestrial life. Now this space station is sending anti-matter waves or something that is causing deadly power surges that could cause a global catastrophe. 

This film knows what it is and what it isn’t. This isn’t the space opera of Star Wars or the space epic of Interstellar. This is a movie about the isolation and sacrifice of space travel. Pitt narrates his thoughts throughout the movie as he travels. While visiting a commercialized moon with an Applebee’s or fighting moon pirates, he ponders the meaning of his existence and his feelings toward his father who left while he was a preteen. 

This film isn’t for everyone. While this movie is slow and thoughtful, it is engaging. However, it won’t surprising if someone thinks it drags on with little action.  It seems to be missing something and it is difficult to put your finger on it.  This is not a perfect movie, but it is well made. This will most likely become a cult classic due to its wonderful cinematography and interesting world that has been built, but will have plenty of people who dislike it.

6/10 Igloos

The Dirt on The Dirt

In 1990, I was doing three things: being 10, playing Nintendo, and listening to the Dr. Feelgood tape over and over again until my pretty pink cassette player revolted and fried itself out forever. Motley Crue’s lyrics were overtly suggestive, the videos were blatant propaganda for booze, drugs, and sex, and they wore silly costumes and freaky make-up. They. Were. The. Shit.

The Shit!

Upon first hearing about this movie, I was unexcited to say the least. I thought I knew everything there was to know about Motley Crue and I didn’t want to see some biopic with bad actors spewing watered-down lines about how life on the road is tough and drugs ease your pain…man.

Oh God, I was wrong. “The Dirt” movie is based on the autobiography collectively written by each member of the Crue. It was released in 2001 and as I understand, has been in movie talks since 2006. I regret never picking up this book, but as I said, I was sure I knew everything there is to know from the Behind the Musics, and other pseudo-documentaries about either the band or one of its original members. (I admit, I don’t know much about Vince Neil replacement John Corabi except how to pronounce his name. The movie didn’t seem to care too much about him either).

The story begins with the horrendous childhood of Nikki Sixx (Douglas Booth) and lays the groundwork for his future addiction. Next we meet teenager Tommy Lee (Colson Baker) in a nice home having a sibling spat with his sister and chatting with his dad about his new girlfriend. This is a way more functional household than Nikki’s. Next is Mick Mars (Iwan Rheon aka Ramsay Bolton from GOT y’all!) who was given an audition because of a newspaper ad he placed pronouncing himself as “a loud, rude and aggressive guitar player”. We don’t know much about his home life, but that just keeps him nice and mysterious. Lastly, we meet Vince Neil (Daniel Webber) singing cover songs at a backyard party and already enjoying the perks of being lead singer of a band.

First of all, the actors who played the band all nailed it and nailed it hard (hey – get your mind out of the gutter!) Tommy Lee was sweet, charming and completely out of control all at the same time. Mick Mars, the elder of the group, was the sage providing sound advice and dry wit. Nikki Sixx is a smoldering hot rock star on the outside, but just under the surface, a growing dependency on heroin is killing him on the inside. And Vince Neil, having sexual relations with anything that moves, is your typical carefree, narcissistic punk. He’s hardly lovable at first, but believable and fun to watch. His story has always been the most heartbreaking in my opinion. For all of the terrible decisions he made in his life, especially one that took a life, I was in tears watching his lowest point play out on screen.

I think die-hard fans of Crue’s music are going to wish this were an epic 4-hour movie that included more back story on their earlier hit songs/albums and delved deeper into each one’s personal life. But it’s not. At only 1 hour 40 minutes, it hits most of the highlights and lowlights of the band’s reign in the 80’s. It felt like the story was going a little too fast and some details got a little muddled, but in this particular case, I didn’t care. Basically it’s a whirlwind of girls, shows, drugs, strip clubs, more drugs, hanging out with Ozzy Osbourne, more girls, Tommy Lee marries Heather Locklear, more strip clubs, more drugs. You don’t care so much about fact checking, you’re just along for the ride, but far enough away where you’re safe from catching an STD.

I was enthralled with this movie from start to finish. The actors had their respective band member’s quirks and mannerisms (and haircuts!) down perfectly. At one point they recreated some of their old videos and everyone was spot-on with their portrayal. SNL’s Pete Davidson was a nice surprise and had a fun, geeky presence as an Elektra executive. For some people, it will be a nostalgic snapshot of a time when Motley Crue ruled the world. I am still a huge fan of their music, hell, I played “Kickstart My Heart” in the delivery room while I was gearing up to give birth to my child.

Bottom line: Go check out The Dirt on Netflix. It’s not messing around and tells a good story, with all the language, antics, and excesses you’d expect from a rock band fueled by drugs and alcohol. As an esteemed member of the Dirty Penguin Presents: Movies! podcast, I give this film “2 Flippers Up”!

Check out The Dirty Penguin Presents: Movies! for more in-depth breakdowns of such “classics” as Vanilla Sky, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Twilight, Showgirls and much more!

Avengers: Endgame

The Russo Brothers Don’t Disappoint as Avengers: Endgame Lives Up to the Hype

It all started with Tony Stark captured and stuck in a cave. Twelve years and twenty-two movies later, Marvel finally presents us with their coup de grâce, Avengers: Endgame. Could this movie possibly live up to the hype and anticipation? Could this deliver the satisfying swan song for some of the greatest superheroes on film? It does, in spades.

When we last left our heroes, they were left to pick up the pieces (or ashes) of their lives after the infamous Thanos snap. Almost as if we it was an episode of the HBO’s The Leftovers; we watch as depression and grief have fallen upon the world. It is emotionally packed sequences that provide something that has always seemed to be missing from most of the Marvel movies: stakes. No matter how dangerous the threat or evil the villain, the heroes never seemed to be in any real danger. Tertiary characters may be doomed, but no one really thought Thor was going to meet his maker in Avengers: Age of Ultron. As this saga of the first-generation Avengers comes to an end, the stakes have never been higher. This adds to the drama and emotion of the film. 

The Russo brothers have directed some of the best Marvel films and did not disappoint in their latest film. The pacing for this movie is well done which says a lot about a movie shot at 182 minutes. It feels like it is only two hours. They keep the humor Marvel is known for while still maintaining the seriousness of the film. Winding the audience through a nostalgia filled movie that reminds the audience of all the greatest hits of the Marvel films. As all of the original Avengers survived the snap, it allows the actors all to have moments to shine throughout the film. It is difficult to have standout performances in a huge ensemble, but the Russo’s keep the nice formula from Avengers: Infinity War by keeping characters and actors who have a great chemistry together.  

This is a difficult movie to review as almost any mention of the plot will be spoiler filled. Just know that if you have enjoyed the Marvel movies this far, this is up there as the best with Captain America: Winter Soldier and Civil War. This closes the three phase “Infinity Saga” wonderfully and will leave the audience satisfied and most likely misty eyed. It may be a hard road ahead as the new heroes must take up the mantle to head up the next saga for Marvel. They will definitely have big spandex to fill.

Toy Story 4

Disney and Pixar really know how to turn a guy into a teary nerf ball of emotions! I saw Toy Story 4 today and all I can say is: I’M NOT CRYING! YOU’RE CRYING!

Without any spoilers, we get to see a wonderfully brief look into the past movies as a “catch up” montage but we are quickly re-introduced to where Andy left Sheriff Woody and his Roundup Gang as a gift for a new kid, Bonnie.

While we get to see and hear from our old friends: Buzz, Rex, The Aliens, Bo Peep, Slinky Dog, Hamm, The Potato Heads, Jessi and Bullseye some of the best and most interesting characters are the ones we are introduced to in this movie. I won’t go into detail about these new characters but I will say that adding the likes of Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Tony Hale, Ally Maki, Christina Hendricks, Carl Weathers, and Keanu Reeves to the cast made their characters “come to life” with their performances. Ducky & Bunny y’all!!! You’ll die laughing.

With strong themes of the difficulty of change and understanding one’s purpose in life, Toy Story 4 is not just a great adventure for the kids, it had me locked in for the entire 100 minutes.

Annabelle Comes Home

Scares and creepiness abound as Annabelle demonstrates just how unnerving a demonic doll could possibly be.

Out of a total of seven Conjuring universe movies, Annabelle has been given three. When Annabelle was given the first movie, it seemed like a joke and a terrible idea. After making $250M on a $6.5M budget, the creator of the Conjuring universe were the only ones laughing all the way to the bank. After a second movie showing Annabelle’s origin, the third was taking her home to her glass case.

Going into this movie, it seemed we were finally going to get the face off between the Warrens and Annabelle that we were promised. It wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for as the Warrens, played for what is essentially cameos by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, go hunt some other evil spirit leaving their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace) home to stay the night with their trusted babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). The disappointment for the lack of Warrens in this movie are soon forgotten as Mary Ellen’s friend, Daniela (Katie Sarife) decides to snoop into what can only be described as the Warrens basement reminiscent of the basement in Cabin in the Woods. Like the aforementioned movie, the results are remarkably similar.

Grace shines as the Warren’s daughter. She brings a bit of the strangeness expected from somebody who has grown up in the environment of living with ghost hunters. It should be interesting to see if they decide to involve her on future Conjuring movies. It seems this movie has set that up as a possibility. The rest of the cast does an admirable job of being terrified on the events that Annabelle brings.

This movie leans on the old horror stand byes that every Conjuring universe movie lives on: tension and shock/jump scares. Many people think dolls are creepy and Annabelle cranks this up to the nth degree. With the decision to add other ghouls and goblins to the mix, it keeps one on their feet at what horror will be unleashed. The Warren’s basement and the haunted/cursed artifacts within could most likely make another hundred movies and each could be fascinating.

If you are fan of the Conjuring universe, this movie delivers more than La Llorona did earlier this year. It is very much in the vain of the Conjuring movies proper. The creepiness and jump scares keep this movie moving and interesting.

This movie is definitely two flippers up.

Child’s Play 2019

Overall thoughts: Horror fans will like the nostalgia and silly scares, but flimsy plot devices and non-sensical storylines make for just an OK time.

I saw the very first Child’s Play as a kid when it was released on video. After viewing, I then proceeded to sleep in my parent’s bed for the next two weeks until I was unceremoniously kicked out of their room.

As the sequels got wackier and wackier, I stopped paying attention altogether, but was intrigued when I heard of this reboot that would retell the origin of Chucky, the murderous doll.  

Right away, you can see the updates from 1988 to 2019. We start in Vietnam where workers are mistreated, shamed, and beaten into mass producing the much anticipated Buddi Smart Doll; a toy that is expected to grab the hearts of every American child. One worker has had enough of the abuse and in a big fat screw you to his boss (and the world), he deletes all “bad behavior inhibitors” to one of the dolls.

Well, that one doll takes the long and winding road to the home of Andy Barclay (Gabriel Bateman) and his young, single, mom Karen (Aubrey Plaza). The most interesting addition to this movie is that Chucky is voiced by the wonderful and talented Mark Hamill and he is having fun with it!

As for the story itself, there are some key changes that differentiate it from the original, and it’s not just smart technology. Here, Chucky is not possessed by an evil soul, but is “born” without violence inhibitors. He learns violence from what he sees around him. Chucky attaches himself to Andy and he only knows how to show his allegiance to him by violently dealing with Andy’s attackers. Although, he also takes extreme displeasure with anyone who proclaims Andy is their best friend. There are some weak plot devices like a hearing aid that is only there to explain how Chucky can hear conversations that are nowhere near him. And the mother’s boyfriend, a total jerk that no one will miss, really makes no sense in being a part of Andy’s life.

I do believe there is underlying commentary on exploitive working conditions, AI technology, corporate social responsibility, and what we as a people consume as entertainment. But if you’re just in it for a good, horrifying time, you’ll find satisfaction in the mix of nostalgia and outrageous acts of violence.  It’s a quick 90 minute fright fest that will have you chuckling a few times. There is one Star Wars reference I found hilarious and Detective Mike (Brian Tyree Henry) has some solid comic relief. Bonus, a sweet and wonderful new ditty called “The Buddi Song” beautifully performed by Mark Hamill’s Chucky. Enjoy!

I give it 1 Flipper up for the fun of it, but got to leave it there for being a little lazy on the story.

SpiderMan: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home was the fifth and deal ending movie to complete the induction of Spider-man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and boy do I hope that the Sony/Marvel cooperation can continue!!! This movie was the best parts of all of the previous Spider-Men with the added bonus of sharing the hero-verse with the rest of the MCU. 

The internet speculated how this final film of the MCU Phase 3 would address the events in Avengers: Infinity War and Avenger: Endgame. I wasn’t disappointed. It felt like reading a Spider-Man comic. The comedy of the Spider-Man writing really came through, especially in how Peter and the rest of Mid-Town his peers dealt with being “blipped” away and back again five years later. 

The villain in the movie *****SPOILER AERT*******, Mysterio, is a classic Spider-Man baddie. The comic books version of  Mysterio is given a mystical power set, while here we see the same result from harnessing advanced tech introduced in Captain America: Civil War (see B.A.R.F.). That’s something that the MCU has down to a science, the callback. We see it several times in this film. This movie could just be one giant callback if it didn’t introduce some cool new story lines. 

All in all, Spider-Man: Far from Home was a great and fun movie. I could be biased though…I’m a sucker for the MCU and Spider-Man has always been a personal favorite. As for whether or not the Sony/Marvel deal will continue, I think it will be green lit after both companies are done counting their spider-bucks!

Two flippers up!

Squawk Dirty