The Lego Movie (Review)

The Lego Movie

Lego Movie
Story by Dan Hageman & Kevin Hageman and Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Screenplay by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

Lego Movie
The Lego Movie constantly refrains the song “Everything is Awesome!” throughout the film, and though the song is presented as a joke because things aren’t awesome, it best describes The Lego Movie. Because everything is awesome. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller took a toy commercial and traditional hero’s journey narrative and turned it into a celebration of tossing out instructions and a collectivist uniting against conformity and conservatism. Also it’s fun and hilarious.

The unlikely group of heroes unite against President Business, who controls the entire world and wants things to stay just the way they are. He gets incensed when things are built that don’t follow the rules or are weird. His reign has seen the Lego city become a virtual police state where everyone follows a huge list of rules and destroys anything out of the ordinary to be replaced with construction that follows the rules. The people are lulled into accepting their reality with glee, thanks to control of television and music, where every show is Where’s My Pants? and every song is the aforementioned “Everything is Awesome!”
Lego Movie
The resistance becomes a celebration of individuality vs marching to the same drum beat. The Lego Movie encourages you to build what you want, and not worry about if your projects conflict with what someone expects you to do. While President Business seeks his stagnant perfection, the real progress and fun comes from the chaos of creation.
Lego Movie

Emmet Brickowoski (Chris Pratt) – Emmet is the most average man who ever averaged, and even when he follows all the rules (and there are a lot of rules), no one seems to remember him much at all. But things change when suddenly the Piece of Resistance is stuck to his back, and it looks like he has a prophesy to fulfill. If he can just be interesting!
Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) – A Master Builder who searches for the Piece of Resistance and finds it on Emmet. She mistakenly thinks he’s much more powerful than he actually is. But despite her disappointment, she becomes part of the inspiration for Emmet to rise up beyond his lot in life. Is dating Batman.
Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) – Wise sage who prophesies the downfall of Lord Business and the Piece of Resistance. He’s blinded, and later begins training Emmet, though there is little time for actual training. Has trouble telling Gandalf and Dumbledore apart.
Batman (Will Arnett) – The best movie Batman since Adam West. The caped crusader joins the mission to save the universe because he’s Batman and that’s what Batman does. He’s dark. Also he’s dating Wyldstyle, in between making his music. FYI, people in the audience cheered when Batman showed up.
Lord/President Business (Will Ferrell) – Lord Business is President of the Lego city and controls all aspects of it, in a creepy Big Brother way. He’s also a super villain, who has stolen an artifact that he plans to use to end the world (which involves freezing it in place.) That is, unless he’s stopped by The Piece of Resistance!

Lego Movie
Minor spoilers below the fold!
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The Lego films are going to be damn awesome!!

Lego Batman

The Lego film seems like it will be amaza-tastic! Also damn awesome, since that’s what I wrote in the headline. Co-directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs) and featuring voices of many a talented actor: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Nick Offerman, and Alison Brie.

There will be largely animated with a few live-action components. Lego: The Piece of Resistance will also feature Superman and Batman in the same film, showing that a cartoon can do in theaters what Warner Brothers is too stupid to pull off themselves for decades! Other rumored licensed Lego properties for cameos include Yoda and Indiana Jones. The film is tracking so well they’ve bumped up the release date, from February 28, 2014, to February 7, 2014. That’s still way too long for impatient me.

Regular Lego figure Emmet (Chris Pratt) is mistakenly identified as the key to saving the Lego world and he’s forced to go on a quest to stop an evil tyrant. President Business (Will Ferrell) is the evil CEO who is too evil to manage his personal life correctly, and Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) is his henchman.

If you can’t get enough of Lego Superman and Lego Batman, then you are in luck, as there is also going to be a Lego Batman DTV flick with Superman guest starring! The trailer released is pretty much just cut scenes from the video game, but the story so far is there will be new animation in addition to these cut scenes to make a full film. So we will see. Even the cast list for LEGO Batman: The Movie is the same for the rumored voices in the Lego: The Piece of Resistance – Will Arnett as Batman and Channing Tatum as Superman. This is like synergy or something. I hope they make Lego films for those awesome monster hunters sets I see at the stores.

Lego Joker

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan
Story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer
Directed by Christopher Nolan

Halle Berry slashed my tires last night!

Our The Dark Knight Rises review will be in a slightly different format, list form! And not the “Top 6 Bane Pick up Lines that Will Explode and Blow Your Mind” type of lists, just a list of thoughts in semi-sequential format as we go through the film. Thus, SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS below the fold!

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor the Dark Knight…
  • Arriving early to get an aisle seat.
  • This theater has Oogieloves posters all over it!
  • I will be upset if there isn’t a bare minimum of 5 rises in TDKR!
  • Why are two very fat guys in nerd shirts complaining about the nerds in the theater? And now I am complaining about them on the internet!
Too cool for earmuffs
  • The new Superman trailer documents his time on Deadliest Catch (and how much better Joe Manganiello would have been in the role!)
  • I also drank less tea before the film so I wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom that much (Did I succeed? See below!)
  • And now the opening sequence that was released on the internet months ago!
  • Remember: Spoilers below the fold!
The Last Days of the XFL…

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Driving Miss Daisy Towards the Meaning of Life

Driving Miss Daisy Towards the Meaning of Life

Written by Alfred Uhry
Directed by Bruce Beresford

Throughout history one question has torn through mankind like a knife through butter. “Why are we here?” It seems a simple question that should easily be answered. But the answers do not come easily. Theories abound, all sorts of proofs exist, millions of people have spent countless hours and resources in search of the answer to this ultimate question. For many, they never find the answer they are looking for. They’ll never find out what it all means.

But have some people have learned the key? It seems that way. Not because they are smart or geniuses, but because they lived their lives and came to the answer. Sometimes the answers are all around you, you just need to be able to appreciate them. Sometime answers are just on the other side of the mirror.

The main journey in Driving Miss Daisy is a 25 year lesson on learning to find and appreciate the answers. Sure, it’s primarily the story of an older Jewish widow and her black driver in the South from 1948-1973, but that’s only the window dressing. You have to come along for the ride to see the destination. And, no, only one person gets to look at the map!

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Dolphin Tale (Review)

Dolphin Tale

Dolphin Tale
Directed by Charles Martin Smith
Written by Karen Janszen and Noam Dromi

Dolphin Tale
TarsTarkas.NET scored another free advanced screening because we’re awesome, and this time we saw the family film Dolphin Tale in 3D. And once again we’re giving a positive review to a film we saw for free. Let’s the claims that we’ve sold out begin! Because they are all dirty dirty lies. One day we’ll see something awful…but not today.

Dolphin Tale is a good family film, and as it is loosely based on a true story it is one of those inspirational films we don’t have enough of. The major problem with films like these is making them feel good without becoming gigantic cheese factories. Dolphin Tale manages to avoid most of those pitfalls and presents us with a story that seems plausible. The film throws in some traditional storytelling arcs around a child protagonist in order to capture the largest possible potential audience. And it is a good choice, as it is hard to structure a story around a character that isn’t human and can’t talk except for squeals and whistles. Even SeaQuest DSV had to have humans around their dolphin!
Dolphin Tale
A fisherman and a child named Sawyer Nelson find a dolphin stranded on the beach, entangled in a crab trap and badly injured. The Sea Animal Rescue crew is called in and take the dolphin away, but the normally jaded and withdrawn Sawyer is strangely concerned about the dolphin’s fate and sneaks into the rehabilitation center. He befriends Hazel, the daughter of the doctor who runs the place, and soon is involved in the rehabilitation of Winter the dolphin.
Dolphin Tale

Sawyer Nelson (Nathan Gamble) – Sawyer has gone bitter since his dad ran off years ago, interested in nothing except looking up to his older cousin, remote controlled helicopters, and failing school. But finding an injured dolphin by the sea changes his life and gives him the first sense of joy he’s had for years. His mom is a single nurse Lorraine Nelson (Ashley Judd), who is your typical struggling single mom. Nathan Gamble is probably best known for being Commissioner Gordon’s son in The Dark Knight. His acting here is more muted, and fades in comparison to…
Hazel Haskett (Cozi Zuehlsdorff) – Dr. Haskett’s daughter who works at the Sea Animal Rescue hospital and befriends Sawyer. Good thing there was a kid his age! Otherwise Sawyer would have to find out about Winter via text messaging or something. This is Cozi Zuehlsdorff’s first film, and she acts rings around some of the other characters, though she does tend to overact.
Dr. Clay Haskett (Harry Connick Jr.) – Marine biologist who runs the Sea Animal Rescue hospital, father of Hazel, and swinging bachelor. His dad Reed is Kris Kristofferson, so he comes from a long line of cool. Dr. Haskett is too busy trying to save animals to worry about funding his hospital, which helps define the third act after the random hurricane.
Dr. Cameron McCarthy (Morgan Freeman) – Morgan Freeman pops up eventually as a doctor who makes artificial limbs. He’s enlisted by Sawyer to make an artificial fin for Winter.
Winter (herself, CGI, and puppets) – Winter is the dolphin who has a tale about losing her tail. Hey, I just got the pun in the title! Just kidding, I got it like five minutes ago…
Rufus (some Pelican and CGI) – The surprise standout of Dolphin Tale, Rufus shows up a lot in the film harassing various characters and stealing all the scenes he’s in. He also eats fish and lives on a roof, hence the name, Ceiling! I mean, Rufus.

Dolphin Tale
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