Tag Archives: Channing Tatum

Smallfoot (2018) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

Smallfoot

Directors: Karey Kirkpatrick, Jason Reisig (co-director)
Writers: Karey Kirkpatrick (screenplay by), Clare Sera (screenplay by)
Stars: Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Common, Danny DeVito

Smallfoot is an animated film by Warner Bros (Warner Animation Group’s 5th feature film)  that is about a Yeti named Migo (Tatum) who is convinced that the elusive creatures known as “humans” really do exist and must prove of their existence to his Yeti Tribe. Set at the top of the mountains the tribe live their life in isolation keeping with their traditions of observing and obeying their beliefs which are set in stone, Migo after witnessing a “Smallfoot” goes against his people and beliefs that there is no such thing and is banished as an outsider by the tribe and the Stonekeeper (Common). To prove to his people Migo sets out on a quest to prove the existence and once again be accepted by his community with the help of his friend Meechee (Zendaya) and the S.E.S (Smallfoot Evidentiary Society)

While this is all happening we are introduced to the Smallfoots….oh wait, I mean the Humans and their side of the story. Enter Percy (Corden) who along with his television crew and looking for their next big news story. Percy is kind of like the Steve Irwin of his times. His interest and care into wildlife with integrity is what captured the publics imagination of him and his shows, but with failing viewers now, Percy comes up with a plan to trick the audience into thinking he comes across a Yeti (His colleague Brenda played by Yara Shahidi dressing up as a Yeti) and is convinced this will spiral him back in the big time.

This is where both civilisations meet accidentally and I have to admit I thought Percy was going to be the villain of the movie or at a stretch, be the one who captures or exposes the Yetis to the Humans and maybe have some kind of moral dilemma at the films peak. Unfortunately there isn’t really a villain here. Smallfoot is more about acceptance and tolerance and to be fair I think Kirkpatrick and Sera get there message across without it being too taxing or forced. The story is also interesting enough as things unfold the tribe and the Storekeeper have been keeping a few things back from their people in regards to humans which I will keep spoiler free.

Tatum now in his fourth animated film after The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie and The Book of Life is good as the main character Migo. The character is likeable and Tatum delivers the lines to suit the characterises of a vulnerable Yeti seeking acceptance by his people and the humans. Some of the scenes with his father played by Danny Devito are well written and gives us an inside into the working minds of the Yeti Tribe and the conflict in their beliefs.

Corden as Percy is just James Corden and what he does best. Like him or not, he has the enthusiastic zing to carry his characters in animated films. Look at his work in Trolls or the Emoji Movie. Not exactly amazing films, but he leaves his presence and he does this here again. Setting up Percy in those early stages of the story could have gone another way and I’m sure Corden would have done well in portraying him as a villain, but credit where it is due, he equally carries the human aspect of the story through the character and for once doesn’t take over the screen.

Zendaya like Corden manages to add energy into her character of Meechee. There are hints of Anna Kendrick’s Poppy from Trolls in her delivery and this is due to the characters optimism over her beliefs of Human Existence. Zendaya’s Meechee is also the daughter of the Stonekeeper, so there is conflict between them and a strained relationship.

From a filming point of view I liked the look and feel to the film. Yes it is self contained in two settings, that of the mountain top and the city below, but it looks stunning and the CG animation looks great in its backdrop and characters. I also loved the communication technique the filmmakers went with in how both Yeti and Human hear each other (to each other, not the audience members) From the Yeti perspective we hear the humans are squeaking high-pitched beings and from the human point of view we experience that the Yetis are all growls and roars. Thankfully this little trick isn’t overused and I can confidently say that you will get a little laugh out of that technique.

Overall, Smallfoot is a delightful animated film that comes in at 1 hour and 36 minutes. I’m telling you that, the time will fly in as the story is compelling and the characters are relatable and likeable. It is about understanding and acceptance and if you have a young family I would recommend taking them along as the kids will enjoy it. Recommended.

Logan Lucky (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

LOGAN LUCKY

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Rebecca Blunt
Stars: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes

Sometimes you go into a movie not expecting too much from it. This is not a dig at the plot, the Director or the Cast. Just sometimes this happens and surprisingly it turns out to be one of your favourite movies of the year. Yes, Logan Lucky (or as I keep calling it Lucky Logan?) is about two brothers Jimmy and Clyde Logan who attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.

Jimmy Logan is played by Channing Tatum, who was a football player and star from his small town in West Virginia, his ambitions of joining the NFL were cut short by a knee injury that unfortunately also has effected his chances of work due to health and safety laws. (He is laid off at the beginning of the movie) It appears that everyone in the Logan family is cursed and this is mentioned a few times throughout the movie. His brother Clyde (Adam Driver) lost an arm (or the forearm and hand as he points out to people) serving his country and is now working in a bar for the local neanderthals to make fun off.

Tatum and Driver although some might say to look at definitely aren’t brothers but both actors appear to have a brotherly connection throughout and there are scenes dotted throughout where Jimmy shows his love for his brother. Both appear to be at the end of their tether and even more so Jimmy who has just found out that his ex-wife Bobbie Jo (Katie Holmes) is moving across state with her new husband and Bobbie and Jimmy’s daughter Sadie played by an impressive young actress called Farrah Mackenzie.

At this point in the movie, things for both brothers have to change and this is where Jimmy’s plan is put in place to channel the cash from the arena that is pouring in from a NASCAR race event using the vacuum tubes that lay in the foundations of the arena that Jimmy knows from working in the mines and also knows that there is a secure vault within those foundations that all the cash is vacuumed into. This is also the point in the movie that I think a lot of people have a problem with. The sheer scale of precision and accuracy in the plan, mostly Jimmy’s plan is unbelievable, but hey, what the heck just enjoy the craziness of the plot and don’t worry too much about that. The movie is clearly made for entertainment value (aren’t all movies like this?) and that is what makes this movie a silly but really enjoyable film.

Tatum and Driver are certainly the leads in this movie but they are also backed up by Daniel Craig playing Joe Bang the explosives expert. Craig is a stand out in his performance and I can only imagine Director Steven Soderbergh giving the British actor free reigns as Craig really lets loose in the role and his southern accent is incredibly convincing for someone who is from Cheshire, England. Bang’s expertise is required for the heist and with only one snag (being in prison) the Logan boys have to figure out a way of getting their man in on the action.

With Craig in a superb supporting role I can’t say much the same for the very under used Seth MacFarlane as Max Chilblain who I thought was a great character but perhaps I can accept Soderbergh understating this role as Chilblain dominates the screen in his scenes to be fair. Again the same can be said for Sebastian Stan’s Dayton White, not quite a cameo, nor a supporting role. The biggest of them all and what took me by surprise was the appearance near the very end of the movie of Hilary Swank as Special Agent Sarah Grayson. Perhaps this is being set up for a sequel I don’t know. Swank’s role is very limited and kind of bizarre that someone of her acting calibre is used in a role that could have gone to anyone. Playing the Special Agent in the investigation of the heist was a throw away set up. It certainly wasn’t the FBI on a hot pursuit to catch the criminals but more of a way for the story to explain that the authorities are on this and to be honest it looks like it may have been a last minute decision to include Hilary Swank in the role.

Overall the Direction of Soderbergh is more in line with “Ocean’s” series of film rather than his “Che” movie making style. It’s slick and funny and again shouldn’t be taken too seriously as “Logan Lucky” is an enjoyable film with a great cast. Highly Recommend.

The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) Movie Review by Kevan McLaughlin

LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

Director: Chris McKay
Writers: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna
Stars: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Rosario Dawson

A DC movie that’s clear, fun and knows what it wants to be. Let’s hope someone’s taking notes.

But that may be slightly unfair. There are going to be massive comparisons between this blocky-Batman adventure and the forthcoming DC movies scheduled for release over the next few years. The fact that this movie can poke fun at previous incarnations of the Batman franchise (including those Joel Schumacher ones) and include cameos from Gremlins and Daleks speaks volumes. This is Warner Bros. ONLY opportunity to be so light-hearted when dealing with such revered characters as Superman, Batman et al.

The plot is… ridiculous. It’s a roaring laugh-fest with Batman/Bruce Wayne (Arnett) as a self-indulgent, brooding loner who’s one Fall Out Boy song away from becoming a full-blown Emo. The Joker (Galifianakis) is the hammiest embodiment of the character we’ve probably ever seen. He should come with a ‘Strictly-Not-Kosher’ warning. Robin (Cera) is a wide-eyed (literally in this case) needy kid who’s only missing the empty bowl when drawing comparisons with other famous orphans. And it’s all so terribly wonderful.

Bruce Wayne is doing his usual thing of obsessing about his dead parents. Understandable. But here we get to poke fun at the fact we’re quite bored of this back story. He’s living in his mansion, obsessively eating lobster thermidors and spends his free time watching romance movies. There’s a reason we don’t see him doing much else the un-Batman things in other movies. It’d be like watching James Bond assemble an IKEA flatpack. Too weird.

The Joker is devastated that Batman DOESN’T hate him. That alone is an amazing observation. Batman, in every format ever released, has never actually expressed that emotion for his enemy. He’s only ever reacted to the Clown Prince’s need for chaos. So, the Joker gives himself up for good. Seriously, he hands himself in and retires from the life of crime, accepting that without Batman as his enemy he might as well hang up his novelty BANG-flag guns.

But Batman doesn’t buy it. He’s convinced that the Joker is up to his most devious scheme yet and sets about trying to capture Superman’s Phantom Zone generator to trap him for good, reasoning that Arkham will never be able to hold him. Sound plan. Until it goes wrong.

In the meantime, Bruce accidentally adopts Dick Grayson who’s puppy dog display borders on the hilariously moronic. Dick can’t even work out that Batman and Bruce are the same person, believing that he’s been adopted by both of them.

Barbara Gordon (Dawson) along with Alfred (Fiennes) are the only two level-headed characters in Gotham, both trying to persuade the Caped Crusader that he needs help fighting crime.

The Joker is tremendous fun to watch as a homicidal maniac clown, standing in front a vigilante dressed as a bat, asking him to hate him. Credit goes to Galifianakis for his slightly whiny and desperate portrayal of the Joker, whilst retaining his lunatic dimensions.

This is the most selfish and inconsiderate version of Batman we’re ever likely to see. Will Arnett, in his funniest role since Arrested Development, is hysterical as the sulky Dark Knight.

Michael Cera is perfect as this version of Robin. Why would a teenage kid dress like a total dork, have a tiny bird as his pseudonym and live with an insane billionaire crime-fighter if he wasn’t a complete half-wit?

This is the light relief we need from all the gossip, on-set leaks, baffling announcements and horror stories we’re constantly hearing from the DCEU. Superhero movies should be fun, right?