Parr Family Back to Battle Diabolical Villain Hypnotizing Humanity
It’s hard to fathom why it has taken Disney and Pixar 14 years to release a follow-up to The Incredibles. After all, it not only won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, but it grossed over $600 million at the box office. During the interim, creator Brad Bird instead made Ratatouille (2007), Mission: Impossible (2011) and Tomorrowland (2015) before turning his attention to writing and directing Incredibles 2.
The great news is that this thoroughly entertaining sequel is well worth the wait. And most of the actors playing members of the crime-fighting Parr family are back. Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter reprise their roles as parents Bob (Mr. Incredible) and Helen (Elastigirl), as do Eli Fucile and Sarah Vowell as baby Jack Jack and 14 year-old Violet. Huck Milner now portrays 10-year-old Dash, since the original kid’s voice deepened.
Samuel L. Jackson has also returned as family friend and fellow superhero Lucius Best/Frozone. Noteworthy additions to the ensemble include Catherine Keener, Isabella Rossellini and Bob Odenkirk.
The picture picks up precisely where the first left off. Jack Jack is still a toddler, but learning to harness the superpowers that had just started to manifest towards the end of the previous episode. At the point of departure, we find the Parrs being forced into retirement by a government agent (Jonathan Banks) because of the costly collateral damage of their last operation.
Of course, that doesn’t last long. Helen is soon coaxed back into her stretchy superhero suit by a rich fan (Odenkirk) for a photo op designed to resurrect her disgraced clan’s image. The impromptu sex role reversal has Bob staying home to assume the child-rearing and domestic duties.
Next thing you know, Helen is further recruited to subdue Screenslaver (Bill Wise), a pizza delivery guy-turned-hacker who has started hijacking people’s computer screens. Might someone else be behind a wider diabolical plot to hypnotize all of humanity? If so, that might call for the rest of the Parrs to morph into their superhero alter egos and join the fight.
What ensues is another visually captivating, dizzying delight for young and old alike. Pixar and Disney have done it again!
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG for action and brief mild epithets
Running time: 118 minutes
Production Studios: Pixar Animation Studios / Walt Disney Pictures
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
BFFs Play Cutthroat Version of Kids Game in Fact-Based Cat-and-Mouse Comedy
As kids, five BFFs from Spokane, Wash. began playing tag with no idea that, over the intervening years, an innocuous children’s game might gradually morph into a cutthroat version where each would go to extraordinary lengths to pass on or avoid becoming “It.” Several decades later, despite bearing all the responsibilities associated with adulthood, the guys remain ever vigilant for another tap on the shoulder.
The competitive quintet came to the attention of Wall Street Journal reporter Mark Steilen who wrote an article about their imaginative antics entitled, “It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It.” Soon thereafter, Hollywood came-a-callin’ seeking to retain the rights to their story.
The upshot is Tag, the least like likely of sports flicks since DodgeBall (2004). The movie marks the feature film directorial debut of Jeff Tomsic, who had previously only been at the helm of assorted TV show productions. Tomsic assembled a big-name cast, with Jon Hamm, Ed Helms Jeremy Renner, Hannibal Buress and Jake Johnson portraying the protagonists of the bawdy buddy comedy.
At the point of departure, we find Hoagie (Helms), a veterinarian by profession, taking a job as a janitor at an insurance company just to be able to shock a rival, Callahan (Hamm), the firm’s CEO. That gives you an idea of the elaborate ruses involved.
While this novel adventure gets an A for creativity, its characters frequently resort to unnecessary cursing proves to be a self-sabotaging distraction. After all, Tag is still a little kid’s game, even if it’s big kids playing it. So, in this critic’s opinion, the film would’ve worked better with a squeaky clean script.
Nevertheless, the series of screwball stunts held my interest for the duration, despite the profusion of profanities. Best of all were the priceless clips which ran during the closing credits of the real-life pals pulling off their pranks.
A nostalgic walk down Memory Lane, courtesy of the ultimate game of Tag. You’re it!
Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated R for pervasive profanity, crude humor, sexuality, drug use and brief nudity
Running time: 100 minutes
Production Studios: Broken Road Productions / New Line Cinema
Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening June 22, 2018
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (PG-13 for scenes of peril and intense violence) Fifth installment in the horror franchise finds Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) leading a rescue team back to the abandoned dino theme park to save the prehistoric creatures from extinction when a dormant volcano on the island threatens to erupt. Cast includes Jeff Goldblum, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, BD Wong, James Cromwell and Daniella Pineda.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN
Boundaries (R for profanity, sexual references, drug use and nude sketches) Intergenerational dramedy about a single-mom (Vera Farmiga) who has to drive cross-country to relocate her estranged father (Christopher Plummer) with the help of her son (Lewis MacDougall) after the rebellious geezer is kicked out of his retirement home for dealing marijuana. Support cast includes Christopher Lloyd, Peter Fonda and Bobby Cannavale.
Brain on Fire (PG-13 for mature themes, brief profanity and partial nudity) Adaptation of New York Times reporter Susannah Cahalan’s (Chloe Grace Moretz) best-selling memoir of the same name about her month-long battle with an undiagnosed case of encephalitis. With Tyler Perry, Carrie-Anne Moss and Janet Kidder (Margot’s niece).
The Catcher Was a Spy (R for sexuality, violence and profanity) Paul Rudd plays Major League baseball player Moe Berg (1902-1972) in this biopic about his double life during World War II. Cast includes Paul Giamatti, Jeff Daniels, Connie Nielsen and Sienna Miller.
Damsel (R for violence, profanity, sexuality and brief frontal nudity) Mia Wasikowska plays the title character in this comic Western, circa 1870, revolving around a wealthy pioneer’s (Robert Pattinson) perilous trek across the frontier to marry the love of his life. With Robert Forster, and David and Nathan Zellner.
Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town (Unrated) Mackenzie Davis handles the title role in this romantic dramedy as a jilted girlfriend who makes her way across L.A. in order to crash her ex’s (Alex Russell) engagement party. Cast includes Haley Joel Osment, Annie Potts, Lakeith Stanfield, Brandon T. Jackson, Jr. and Alia Shawkat.
The King (R for profanity) Politically-tinged musical retrospective chronicling Elvis Presley’s rise from humble roots to the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll at the same time America devolved from a democracy into an empire. Featuring commentary by James Carville, Alec Baldwin and Chuck D.
Never Steady, Never Still (Unrated) Poignant character study, set along the shores of British Columbia’s Stuart Lake, where we find a widow with Parkinson’s disease (Shirley Henderson) caring for a troubled teenage son (Theodorin Pellerin) struggling with his sexual identity. With Mary Galloway, Nicholas Campbell and Hugo Ateo.
Phenoms (Unrated) Soccer documentary, narrated by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, chronicling the efforts of over five dozen players’ quest to represent their country in the 2018 World Cup competition.
Spiral (Unrated) An eye-opening documentary chronicling the recent rise of anti-Semitism and assaults against Jews in France.