Archive for jeffrey tambor

Trolls

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Inspired by the beloved troll dolls that have entertained kids for decades, this animated tale follows the always-happy Princess Poppy and her grouchy survivalist companion Branch as they embark on a journey that takes them into an unfamiliar world.

What people are saying:

“combines the barely-there characterization and irritating cutesiness of The Smurfs and Jelly Jamm with the hideous character design and awful pop covers of Strange Magic” 3 stars

“”Trolls” combines dreadful kindergarten humor (one troll poops cupcakes) with a feeble plot, much padded with high-fructose-corn-syrup versions of pop and R&B classics.” 1 1/2 stars

“Cute and colorful with some great voice work from an all-star cast and some of the dialogue is definitely geared towards the adults in the audience. The synthesized music gets a bit cloying after a while and the nod to Cinderella is…well…what it is. As it goes it’s decent family entertainment” 3 1/2 stars

“What a perfect example of this stupid generation I’m apart of. All the millionnials who don’t know how to do anything useful and they think as long as their happy life is good when there’s so much more to it than that.
Reminds me of all the people I hate.” 1 1/2 stars

“Wow, I was not expecting this to be this good. It’s bright, colorful, vivid, trippy, and the songs chosen for the musical numbers (That’s right, this is a musical featuring mostly 20th-21st century pop hits plus some original songs as well.) are fantastic. The story is pretty simple, and the whole thing kind of reminds me of a 90’s Saturday morning cartoon updated for the modern day. Anna Kendrick was my favorite voice actor here, and is bubbly, cute and adorable. Trolls is a painless, enjoyable film” 3 stars

The Accountant

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.

What people are saying:

“It’s transparent in its attempt both to pimp a future franchise and give autistic kids their own superhero. There’s a genuine sweetness to the latter that converts me on the former. Headshots, math problems, and pained social interactions? Sign me up. Of the two movies Ben Affleck has been in so far this year, The Accountant and Batman V Superman, The Accountant has by far the most franchise potential” 4 stars

“The Accountant should be a straight-ahead thriller, but the film keeps tripping over its own incompetent feet. Maybe it was made for adults, but it sure doesn’t feel like it was made by them.” 3 stars

“It’s not that often a great story gets translated into a classy script and then benefits from top level acting. Thankfully this film manages to do all that and more. The unique story line combined with some excellent acting and action scenes is a triumph and is not just for those who crave some realistic looking action. Ben Affleck does a great job and makes the unusually talented and afflicted ‘Accountant’ believable. After this performance Ben Affleck must surely be at the top of the list to play ‘007’.” 5 stars

“This movie was sooooooo predictable and terrible. It rips off elements from “Jack Reacher”, “Rain Man” and “Grosse Point Blank”. All three of those movies are way better than this piece of turd. I think the PC crowd want to portray this movie as “inspiring” and about “family” or some other B.S. The movie has a message that autistic people have can live a productive life in a manner of a “normal” person. Meaning, we (the non-autistic people) just mis-understand the very special autistic folks. It’s the same formula as you have seen a hundred times. The Accountant is killing the bad folks for the greater good, but he is not an official law enforcement agent. He has to do things secretly, but with the covert help of a couple of legitimate treasury agents. Sound familiar? Kind of like Batman and Commissioner Gordon. (I did that on purpose btw.) Believe me, I “get” this movie. Wooden acting, (exception: J.K. Simmons) stupid, predictable story, and very slow pace. It’s pure garbage. I just read they are going to make “The Accountant 2″ as well. I guess it’s true, you can’t fix stupid” 1 star

“I thought the film did an excellent job of developing and explaining Ben Afflecks character. I also enjoyed the duplicity of his autism and the fighting skills that his father imbued in him and later how he learned to cope with these abilities / disabilities in adult life (quite the paradox). From personal experience: I know that autistic people have a skill sets, its finding it and making it useful too themselves and society that’s difficult. Too many times these people are written off because they are different than normal expectations and thats kinda of the bottom line of this movie. The previous reviewer is a good example of the herd mentality of people that just don’t get it and never will. (Small people with even smaller minds). I also enjoyed his marksmanship skills with a 50BMG Barret rifle, the one mile shots at cantaloupes and how he took out a pickup truck with it by shooting a hole in the engine block, no doubt also inspired by his Army father. In summary this movie is imperfect by design so that only enlightened people will appreciate and get it.” 5 stars

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film follows the plot of the TV series SpongeBob SquarePants, focusing on the anthropomorphic sea sponge of the same name (Tom Kenny). SpongeBob dreams about managing the Krusty Krab restaurant, which is in trouble because a customer has no cheese on his Krabby Patty, but SpongeBob saves the day. He wakes up and cheerfully prepares for the opening ceremony for the Krusty Krab 2, hoping that his boss Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown) will promote him to manager of the new restaurant built next door to the original Krusty Krab. At the ceremony, SpongeBob is passed over; his co-worker, Squidward Tentacles (Rodger Bumpass), has been given the promotion because Mr. Krabs thinks he is “more mature” than SpongeBob.

Meanwhile, Plankton (Mr. Lawrence), Mr. Krabs’ business rival, devises a plot to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula and frame Mr. Krabs. He steals King Neptune’s (Jeffrey Tambor) crown that night, leaving evidence that pins the crime on Mr. Krabs, and sends the crown to Shell City, a distant, mysterious land from which no fish has returned. That night, SpongeBob goes to his favorite restaurant, Goofy Goober’s; he drowns his sorrows in ice cream with his best friend, Patrick Star (Bill Fagerbakke), waking up the next morning with a headache. King Neptune barges into the Krusty Krab 2 the same morning and threatens to slay Mr. Krabs. Although SpongeBob criticizes Mr. Krabs shortly after he arrives, he promises Neptune that he will retrieve the crown from Shell City. Neptune freezes Mr. Krabs, still certain that he is the culprit, and tells SpongeBob to return with the crown in six days for him to spare Mr. Krabs. SpongeBob and Patrick leave for Shell City in the Patty Wagon, a car shaped like a Krabby Patty.

In Bikini Bottom, Plankton steals the Krabby Patty formula and uses it to produce and sell Krabby Patties at his restaurant, the Chum Bucket, with the claim that Krabs bequeathed him the recipe. He sends a hitman named Dennis (Alec Baldwin) to pursue SpongeBob and Patrick. Squidward discovers the truth about Plankton stealing Neptune’s crown and tries to alert Neptune. However, Plankton uses mind-controlling bucket helmets disguised as souvenirs to control Bikini Bottom’s residents, including Squidward, and renames the city Planktopolis.

Meanwhile, SpongeBob and Patrick encounter a dangerous trench, but Neptune’s daughter Mindy (Scarlett Johansson) helps them past it by making them think she can transform them into men. They are stopped by Dennis, who tries to crush them with his spiked boots, but he is in turn stepped on by a massive “cyclops” (a diver) (Neil Ross). The “cyclops” grabs SpongeBob and Patrick, and goes to his beachside store, revealed to be Shell City. At the store, SpongeBob and Patrick find the crown, but are killed in a lethal drying-out process with the heat lamp turned on. Their tears short-circuit the heat lamp; its smoke activates the sprinkler system, reviving their bodies and the other dried sea creatures to be sold as souvenirs. As the sea creatures attack the diver, SpongeBob and Patrick take the crown and head for the beach. When they lose their way home, David Hasselhoff offers them a ride; Dennis catches up to them but is knocked by a catamaran back into the sea.

Back at the Krusty Krab 2, Neptune arrives to execute Mr. Krabs. Just in time, SpongeBob and Patrick return with the crown and confront Plankton, who then drops a mind-control bucket on Neptune, enslaving him. SpongeBob performs the song “Goofy Goober Rock” (performed by Jim Wise) and, after transforming into an electric guitar-wielding wizard for the duration of the song, he frees Bikini Bottom’s residents. Plankton is arrested, and King Neptune thanks SpongeBob for his bravery and thaws Mr. Krabs, who makes SpongeBob manager of the Krusty Krab 2 in gratitude.

REVIEW:

Everybody sing with me now, “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?” What? No response? Man, what a bunch of party poopers you lot are! So, it is a fairly hot Saturday afternoon and I’m stuck inside babysitting with a broken air conditioner. What better movie to put on than The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, right?

What is this about?

SpongeBob and Patrick are shocked when Mr. Krabs is accused of stealing King Neptune’s crown, and they set out on a wild adventure to prove their friend’s innocence by finding and retrieving the priceless treasure themselves.

What did I like?

Continuity. When shows jump to the big screen, especially while they are still on the air, there is usually a disconnect in continuity. Take South Park, for instance. If I recall, after their movie, it was a year or two before they acknowledged those events. With this, though, I felt like I was watching just an extended episode of the cartoon…with a bigger budget.

Plotholes. I remember back in the days of MySpace, I wrote on a blog post about how we aren’t sure what age SpongeBob is. He has is own house and all that, but he is very juvenile and his job isn’t exactly something one would want later in life. The acknowledgement that he is a kid, finally set my mind at ease about his age. Based on this film, I’d say he’s about 16 or so.

Appeal. There should be no doubt that this is a film marketed towards younger kids, much like the cartoon, but there are some things that will appeal to older viewers. For instance, Patrick calls Princess Mindy hot. Totally out of character for him, which may have been the reason I found humor in it. The preserved fish come to life and attack the “Cyclops” diver was also pretty nifty. There are plenty of scenes that will appeal to a broad audience, so kudos to the filmmakers for having the wherewithal to not dumb this down for just their core audience.

What didn’t I like?

The Hoff. I have no problem with David Hasselhoff. As a matter of fact, I grew up with him on Knight Rider. I’d also say Baywatch, but let’s face it, nobody was watching that show for him. My issue with him in this film is the weird physics that were employed. At one point he stopped in the middle of the ocean and floated there like a boat. How in the bloody blue blazes is that possible? Don’t even get my started on the pectoral launch…that was just weird!

Plan Z. As the series’ antagonist, one would expect Plankton to have some kind of role in the film, perhaps doing the same thing he always does, try to take over the world and steal the Krabby Patty formula. Here’s the thing, though…why is it that Plan Z was so effective, but every other plan he’s had has been a complete and utter flop? I can’t think of a plan of his that came anywhere near actually working!  Sure, the stakes are raised, if you will, for the big screen, but come on, this was just too competent for him!

Pirates. Every now and then on the show, Patchy the Pirate will show up. Ok, I still don’t get what he has to do with anything, but I don’t hate those short segments. He’s not in this as far as I can tell, but there are a mess load of other pirates that apparently love SpongeBob. Surely, there had to be a more effective use for them than sitting in a theater watching the movie, right?

Final verdict on The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie? Well, chances are you aren’t going to just randomly choose to watch this unless you are/were a fan or have seen a few episodes. With that being said, you’ll know what to expect. There isn’t anything new or surprising with this film other than the voice of Scarlett Johnasson. So, if you like the cartoon, you’ll like the movie. For me it wasn’t anything special, other than that.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Branded

Posted in Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Spoofs & Satire, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , on May 15, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

As the movie begins, the names of famous visionaries including Joan of Arc, Albert Einstein and Alexander the Great flash on the screen. A caption reads, “All of them saw things others didn’t see. All of them changed the world.”

In the early 1980s, in Soviet Russia, young Misha Galkin is in a public park at night looking at the stars. Suddenly the stars shift into the outline of a cow’s head, which turns and looks at him. Moments later, Misha is struck by lightning. A woman examines him and, seeing that he is still alive, predicts that his life will not be ordinary.

In present-day Russia, Misha (Ed Stoppard) has grown up to become a high-powered marketing executive working with Bob Gibbons (Jeffrey Tambor). When Bob’s niece Abby (Leelee Sobieski) comes to visit from America, Bob warns Misha to keep his hands off the girl, but despite Bob’s warning, Abby and Misha drift into a relationship. Misha tells Abby various trivia about the history of marketing, such as that Vladimir Lenin invented modern marketing, and that Communism was the first true global brand.

Meanwhile, on a private Polynesian island, a marketing guru named Joseph Pascal (Max von Sydow) is meeting with the executives of fast food companies. The guru tells them that, to make fast food profitable again, they must change public perceptions of beauty and “make fat the new fabulous.” An unseen voice-over narrator says that the companies agreed to carry out the guru’s plan.

In a series of documentary-style flashbacks, narrated by the same unseen narrator, we see how Misha used his natural marketing savvy to rise from a poor clerk to a marketing exec. Misha’s big break came when he met Bob, an American hired to spread Western brands and businesses in post-Communist Russia. In the present, Bob discovers Abby’s relationship with Misha and is furious.

Misha is hired to do marketing for a new reality TV show, “Extreme Cosmetica,” in which an overweight girl will undergo extensive plastic surgery to become skinny and beautiful. Everything goes wrong when, after the first operation, the girl falls into a coma. The public turns against the show and the glorification of skinny bodytypes in general, and Misha, as the show’s marketer, becomes the scapegoat. He is swarmed by protesters, beaten by police and arrested. When he is released from jail, he angrily confronts his former partner Bob, saying that he’s realized the truth: the show and the coma was all orchestrated in order to induce Abby and Misha to split up. Bob denies it (“it would take millions of dollars to manipulate public opinion that way, and it would take the greatest assassin in the world to fake the operation to put that girl in a coma!”) Later, at a bar, they get in a fight, and then, Bob has a heart attack.

Full of guilt from the “Extreme Cosmetica” girl’s fate, Misha realizes that “his marketing powers are a curse” (as explained by the narrator) and he leaves Moscow and withdraws from modern society. Six years later, Abby tracks him down to a rural community where Misha is living the simple life as a cowherd. While Abby is visiting him, Misha has a strange dream. In a dreamlike state, he performs the Red Heifer ritual, sacrificing a red cow and bathing in its ashes. When he wakes up from the ritual cleansing, he discovers to his horror that he has developed the ability to see strange eel- or blob-like creatures which cling to people’s necks and appear to be the embodiment of marketing brand desires.

Abby takes Misha to her apartment in Moscow where she reveals that she is rich (due to an inheritance from Bob) and that they have a six-year-old son. In the intervening six years, the “fat is fabulous” campaign has changed society, everyone is overweight and images of fat people are used in advertising everywhere. Their son is also overweight and loves “The Burger” and other junk-food brands. Distressed by his grotesque visions no one else can see and disgusted by the rampant commercialism around him, Misha impulsively trashes Abby’s apartment. Frightened by his behavior, Abby leaves Misha and takes their son with her.

Misha develops a plan to fight back against the branding-creatures using their own methods. Going back to his old company, he accepts a job to do marketing for Dim Song, a vegetarian Chinese restaurant chain. At the meeting with the executives, he perceives tentacles growing out of their necks connecting them to the collective Dim Song corporate-branding entity. Using dialogue which parallels Pascal’s speech to the fast food executives earlier in the movie, he promises to fix Dim Song’s problems. Misha’s solution is to cause a fake anti-beef scare (using the public’s fear of a mysterious virus similar to Bovine spongiform encephalopathy a.k.a Mad cow disease) which will frighten people from eating meat, thus turning them towards vegetarian food.

The anti-beef scare works, and burger sales drop precipitously. From the rooftop of a building, Misha watches a dragon-like entity hatch from an egg on top of the Dim Song building and fly towards The Burger restaurant, ripping apart and killing The Burger’s corporate embodiment. Misha predicts that The Burger will go bankrupt within a week, and his prediction comes true. Back on the Polynesian island, the marketing guru tells the distressed fast food executives that they are in trouble, but there is still a way to save their brands. Before he can tell them his new plan, however, he is vaporized by a bolt of lightning.

Misha continues his plan to destroy the world’s major brands by using fear-based marketing to make customers afraid of them one by one. In a CG sequence, the brand creatures fly over the city attacking and killing one another: “Yepple” killing “GiantSoft”, etc. Public opinion turns against marketing in general, and the Russian parliament considers a bill banning all advertising. Depressed and alone in his corporate office, Misha leaves a message on Abby’s cellphone, asking her for forgiveness. At that very moment, Abby shows up. Suddenly, the building is raided by anti-advertising protesters, who smash through the doors and assault the employees. Misha is struck down while he and Abby try to escape. At that moment, an emergency broadcast plays on TV, saying that Russia and the other nations of the world have agreed to ban all advertising. The protesters stop their rampage, but Misha is already lying on the floor, bleeding from a head wound.

Some time later, all advertising has been banned, the Moscow skyline is free of billboards, and bulldozers are crushing old advertising materials in the dump. In the hospital, Misha has awakened with a bandage on his head, and is playing with Abby and his son. In another room in the same hospital, the “Extreme Cosmetica” girl awakens from her coma and wanders out into the advertising-free city streets. The voice-over narrator explains that thanks to Misha, the world was changed forever. The camera pans up into the night sky and reveals that the narrator is the cow constellation that young Misha saw at the beginning of the movie

REVIEW:

As you can tell by looking at the poster up there, Branded is one deeply disturbed film. For all of its twisted imagery, though, there is a bit of a political statement that is being made with this film. One that perhaps we should all listen to, for a change.

What is this about?

What if your favorite burger joint, clothing store and cell phone maker were more than just brands, but all part of a vast thought-control conspiracy? When Misha and Abby uncover the truth, it makes them targets of a mind-bending global monstrosity

What did I like?

Effects. The special effects in this film make Syfy channel stuff look like cutting edge, real life technology. However, I am a fan of the cheest looking stuff, so you cna about imagine that this was right up my alley. Most of this visions made no sense as to what they were, but I can appreciate the attempt to create new creatures.

What didn’t I like?

Irony. There is a bit of irony here, in that a film about the evils of advertising had one of the worst advertising campaigns known to man. No matter how bad your film is, you should at least make an effort to get people in the seats. The trailer for this did a good job of doing that, but it was so far away from what you actually get when watching this film, that I found it hard to swallow. Especially after getting my hopes up for one thing and getting another.

Villain. Max von Sydow is one of the guys in Hollywood that can play any kind of villanous character. As the apparently evil chairman of this board that basically tells people what they are going to like, such as a reality show about fat people. I’m not sure which is worse, the fact that people can be so easily manipulated or that he came up with this sinister, Bond-villain type plan.

Climax. Since it took forever and a day to finally get to the visions and whatnot, which is what we all really even bothered to watch this for, I felt a little slighted by the fact that none of them were really clear. That is to say, they just seemed like random doodles that some geek with a computer got paid to bring to life. For what it obviously the centerpiece of this entire film, whether the filmmakers want to admit it or not, this was huge letdown and I felt it could have been handled much better.

What did I ultimately think of Branded? Well, it has a decent plot, but it just isn’t executed very well. This is not something I would suggest you see. If you really want to know how bad this is, think of this…I hate remakes, but I would love for someone to come in and remake this. Do yourself a favor, forget this even exists. It is better for all that way.

2 out of 5 stars

Win Win

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on June 2, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Small-town New Providence, New Jersey attorney Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) moonlights as a wrestling coach and struggles to keep his practice solvent, while shielding his wife Jackie (Amy Ryan) and their two young girls Abby, and Stella from the extent of the problem. When his court-appointed client Leo Poplar (Burt Young), who is suffering from early dementia, turns out to have no locatable relatives, he persuades a judge to appoint him as guardian, for which he will receive a stipend of $1500/month.

When Leo’s troubled teenage grandson Kyle (Alex Shaffer) shows up from Columbus,Ohio looking to live with him, Mike and Jackie let him stay with them, as Mike has moved Leo to a senior care facility. Kyle tries to break into Leo’s old house, and when Mike and Jackie question him about it, he reveals his troubled family life. His mom is in rehab, she lives with her boyfriend, and he doesn’t want to go back. After Kyle sits in on practice, they discover that he is a talented wrestler, and enroll him at Mike’s high school, where he can resume his education and wrestle on Mike’s losing team, helping to make them viable contenders in their league.

This “everyone benefits” setup is disrupted when Kyle’s mother Cindy (Melanie Lynskey) shows up, fresh out of rehab. Cindy attempts to gain custody of her father and her son, and with them her father’s substantial estate. When Kyle learns that Mike had originally promised to keep Leo in his home but has instead moved him to a nursing home, the boy rejects him as a money-seeking opportunist no better than his mother. Realizing the mistake of his earlier actions, and seeking instead to do what’s best for both Leo and Kyle, Mike offers Cindy the monthly stipend in exchange for leaving them in his care. He and Jackie take Kyle into their home permanently and return Leo to his, with Mike instead taking a bartending job to address his financial problems.

REVIEW:

There is something about independent films that keeps bringing me, as well as many other people to them. They may not be the most well-known films, but they do tend to be the most well-crafted pieces of cinema that can be seen this side of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Win Win is a perfect example of such a gem, but does it continue the indy film ideal?

What did I like about this flick?

Story. I think something we all forget is how important storytelling in terms of making a good film. We don’t always need to see special effects, sex, etc., in a pathetic attempt to keep the audience’s attention.

No steel chairs in sight. I”m sure when people hear that this is a film about wrestling, the first thing comes to mind is WWE, which is quite sad. At one time I was a fan…back in the days when it was WWF, but that’s a topic for another blog. I found it to be a good thing they showed real wrestling, which is something people rarely see, except maybe every four years in the Summer Olympics, or if you go to a high school or college wrestling match. Don’t let this film fool you, those things aren’t nearly as packed as they would have you believe, or at least the couple I’ve been to weren’t.

Strong debut. I may be wrong, but I believe this kid, Alex Shaffer, makes his debut in this film. He hasn’t been in anything else on the big or small screen. He makes an impressive debut, that’s for sure. At first he comes off as the typical angry teen, then he seems to be an alright guy who had just fallen on some hard times. Couple that with the great range of emotions he exhibits and you will be sure to remember this guy, if nothing else.

What didn’t I like?

Bobby Cannavale. When this guy was on Will & Grace he was somewhat charming, but here he just comes off as a super annoying friend. Not to mention the way they brought in his character, I felt like they rendered Jeffrey Tambor’s null and void.

The law doesn’t pay. I understand that these are tough times, what with the economy and all, but I seem to find it hard to believe that a lawyer can’t make ends meet. True, he didn’t exactly have clients lining up out the door and all, but I just have a hard time believing this guy needed to take a second job. Then again, if it paid $1,500/month just to look after some guy, I’d probably take it, too.

When everything is said and done, Win Win is a, pardon the pun, win. It isn’t the most interesting film from start to finish, but it has a way of keeping your interest with the mix of comedy and indy drama and intrigue, as well as a strong cast and great story. I highly recommend this to any and everyone!

4 out of 5 stars

The Grinch

Posted in Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on December 19, 2008 by Mystery Man

 

 

PLOT:

Christmas is coming, and all of Whoville is rushing to get ready. In the middle of it all is Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen), a young Who who thinks that due to the Christmas rush and the hubbub, the true meaning of Christmas may have gotten lost. When she goes to the post office with her dad, she runs into the Grinch (Jim Carrey), who’s come down from his cave on Mount Crumpit along with his dog, Max, to stir up some trouble. Spooked by his appearance, Cindy Lou falls into the mail-sorting machine. To her surprise, the Grinch rescues her, albeit under the influence of Max, but he won’t admit that he was “saving” her, instead noting that she was “improperly packaged.” He wraps her up in wrapping paper, complete with stamps and a bow, and leaves.

Cindy Lou begins to doubt the frightening rumors that she’s heard about the Grinch and thinks, “He’s not evil, just misunderstood”. She does some research and discovers that the Grinch is an outcast, who was adopted by two old lady Whos. Growing up, the Grinch was known for his bizarre, mischievous behavior and devilish personality, but he was never actually malicious. However, he was constantly bullied by Augustus May-Who, the future mayor of Whoville, and almost all his other classmates in the 3rd grade. One Christmas, to impress his crush, Martha May Whovier (the only classmate of his who was ever nice to him), the Grinch made her an angel ornament out of an old trumpet, and some pilfered silverware and jewelry. He also decided to shave, after May-Who taunts about how the Grinch has a beard at his age. When he came to school the next day, the whole class (except for Martha) laughed at his gift and his many shaving cuts. The Grinch went berserk, smashing the gift and destroying all the Christmas decorations in the room. As he threw the tree across the room, he screamed about how he then hated Christmas.

After that, he ran away, making his way up Mount Crumpit, and has lived there ever since. His amazing engineering skills helped him turn a cave in the side of the mountain into a comfortable home; however, the Grinch falls into a depression due to the events of his school days, and he begins to hate the Whos who were so cruel to him (listed in a phone book).

Feeling sorry for the Grinch, and realizing that she may be the only one who understands his problem, Cindy Lou invites the Grinch to the one-thousandth Who-Bilation, to be the “Holiday Cheermeister” (a variation of Master of the Ceremony). The Grinch grudgingly agrees to come, wins the title of Cheermeister to the dismay of the Mayor, and even begins to have fun. But the bitter Mayor May-Who finally manages to humiliate the Grinch by giving him a razor, “The Gift of a Christmas Shave”, reminding him of when he shaved his beard so many years ago, while at the same time proposes to Martha May, offering her a brand-new car and a very large diamond ring. The Grinch finally makes his reasons for hating Christmas clear, stating that it’s only about presents. He is also upset with the fact that during the Christmas season, all their unwanted Christmas gifts are thrown away and dumped on his mountain home. He denounces the Whos and their Christmas spirit, takes a piece of mistletoe from Martha’s ring, and waggles it behind his rear. What results is an uproar of panic. In the chaos, the Grinch sets fire to the Whos’ Christmas tree (luckily, they had a spare) and escapes the chaos of the ensuing riot by driving through the streets and escaping in a small car, which explodes. Embarrassed, he dives into a garbage chute back up to Mt. Crumpit. The Mayor then scolds Cindy for inviting him and takes the Cheermeister crown for himself. Once he returns to Mt. Crumpit, the Grinch plots to steal Christmas. He makes himself a Santa Claus suit and builds a rocket sled using Max as a reindeer. He waits for Santa to visit Whoville and then he flies over the town, stealing anything that has to do with Christmas, including the presents left by Santa. The Grinch also goes into the Mayor’s bedroom while he sleeps and rigs a trap to retaliate against his rival. Once he’s finished, he takes his goods back up the mountain to dump it off the side.

Back in Whoville, the Whos are just waking up and seeing what the Grinch has been doing all night. The Mayor finally dismisses the Grinch as a selfish criminal in stating that the Grinch has destroyed Christmas. He proceeds to meanly berate Cindy Lou, but her father speaks up and says they’ve realized that the Grinch hasn’t stolen the most important part of Christmas; the Christmas Spirit, the one thing that doesn’t come from a store. The whole town begins to sing. Meanwhile, Cindy Lou sneaks away to see the Grinch.

Up on Mt. Crumpet, the Grinch hears the Whos singing and realizes the true meaning of Christmas. He has a change of heart (plus three sizes, to be precise), and seeing the sleigh full of “Christmas stuff” about to go off the cliff, tries to save it. When he finds himself falling, he considers just letting it all go since they’re nothing but toys. He then sees Cindy Lou hiding on the back of the sleigh, who says that she wanted to visit him because she feels he shouldn’t be sad and alone on Christmas. Touched by her kindness, he uses his vast, untapped, strength to save her and the presents. They sled back to Whoville, where the Grinch returns all the Christmas items to the Whos and both get a warm reception from everyone, except the Mayor, who attempts to have the Grinch arrested (and sprayed with pepper spray), but the Grinch’s modest apology beforehand proves enough to spare him from the police, much to the Mayor’s great frustration. Martha May digs into the sleigh to find the ring the Mayor proposed to her with, and she gives it back, saying her heart truly belongs to the Grinch. The whole town (except for the mayor) goes back to Grinch’s cave on Mt. Crumpit for Christmas dinner, where the Grinch himself carves the Roast Beast.

REVIEW:

I am no fan of Xmas movies, but this is one of the few that I actually like.

There is no one else that could have pulled off bringing the Grinch to life other than Jim Carey. His natural ability to contort his face made the character seem animated.

The Whos are what they are, secondary characters to the Grinch, with the exception of Cindy Lou. Taylor Momsen did an excellent job of pulling off such a big role at such a young age. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of her in the years to come.

As far as the film goes, it is never easy to bring an animated classic to live action, especially one that is only 15 minutes. They did a real good job with doing so with The Grinch.

There are those that think there was no need to get so in depth with some of the Whos, but I disagree. While this is the Grinch’s movie, he can’t be on screen the entire 104 minutes.

Jim Carey’s rendition of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” did not do it justice. I know there are those that like it better than the original, but i my opinion, he should have just left it to Thurl Ravenscroft.

This is one of those films you need to see around the holidays, and maybe when it’s not the holiday season. Fun for the whole family. You will enjoy!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars