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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cindy Prascik’s reviews of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 and Machete Kills

Dearest Blog, this weekend's cinema schedule left me with two options: act like a real grownup with a movie blog and catch a pair of bonafide awards season hopefuls (Rush and Captain Phillips), or watch a cartoon and a splattery action flick with lots of cleavage and bad language.

Dear Blog, I think we both know where this is heading.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you haven't seen in the trailers.

First on today's agenda was Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.

When scientist Flint Lockwood (voice of Bill Hader) finds out his most famous invention is wreaking havoc, he teams with his childhood hero Chester V. (voice of Will Forte) to put a stop to the chaos...with surprising results.

So...I half-remember seeing the first Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. I'm pretty sure I liked it, because I was reasonably eager to see the sequel, but I don't remember much about it. Now I'm sorta remembering why. Cloudy 2 is passable entertainment that's safe for the kids, but doesn't offer much for anyone else.

The voice talent in Cloudy is a bunch of folks I generally find pretty funny. In addition to Hader and Forte, there's Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Kristin Schaal, and Terry Crews. I don't think the cast is to blame for a lackluster picture, but I can't say anybody jumps out and saves it, either. It's not unheard of for really beautiful art to salvage a so-so animated flick, but this unfortunately falls flat in that regard as well. There are some imaginative creations, but nothing all that memorable or special.

It may be that my expectations of "family" entertainment have become unreasonable, but when I see a family movie these days, I expect it to be just that: something for the whole family, not just something that's suitable for kids. I expect the gorgeous art and clever humor of Finding Nemo, Elton John's hit parade in Gnomeo & Juliet (which had me and all the other grownups in the room dancing and singing along), or something truly special like How to Train Your Dragon, a spectacular film that compares favorably to any other movie, animated or not. The kids in my cinema today seemed to be getting a real charge out of the goofiness and bodily-function humor in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, but I think I only chuckled once...and I checked the clock three times. There's no invention that can turn that into anything good.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 clocks in at 95 minutes and is rated PG for "mild rude humor." It's suitable for kids, but is likely to bore adults to tears.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 gets four.

Next on my agenda was a sequel I more eagerly anticipated, Machete Kills.

Machete is recruited by the US President himself when an ex-Cartel leader points a missile at the good ole U.S. of A.

Machete Kills is a smorgasbord of familiar faces, cartoonish violence, and uber-hot babes. Dear reader(s), you know how I'm always saying an honest trailer is the key to a good movie-going experience? Well, a trailer whose lynchpin is Sofia Vergara firing giant boob guns tells you all you need to know about this one.

Danny Trejo is enjoyable as always, sticking with the less talk and more action plan.

Charlie Sheen is a hoot as the President, and Oscar nominee Demien Bichir is way over the top as the guy with his finger on the trigger. It's always a pleasure to see Walton Goggins, however briefly. Michelle Rodriguez, Amber Heard, Sofia Vergara, and Lady Gaga are so hot I'm surprised the screen didn't melt. There's blood and silliness aplenty, and...did I mention boob guns? While the movie's not grossly overlong, I do think it would have been better had they trimmed it to 90 minutes.

Machete Kills runs 107 minutes and is rated R for "strong bloody violence throughout, language, and some sexual content." It is exactly as advertised: an explosive, silly bit of brain candy.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Machete Kills gets six. Oh, and...boob guns.

Until next time...

No, seriously...boob guns!

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