Movie Review: The Huntsman: Winter’s War – Bad Pacing, Poor Acting and a Confusing Plot

The Huntsman Winter's War [2016] IMAGE 8 - 02MAY2016

If I saw the first Huntsman movie, I couldn’t tell you. I will tell you after seeing its sequel, I doubt I ever will. One dimensional storytelling and two of the worst accents I’ve ever heard turned this into a miss for me.

This story follows Snow White and The Huntsman, though apparently Kristen Stewart was in the last one and doesn’t appear here. This sequel kind of tries to pull in some Frozen by sticking in an evil Snow Queen played by Emily Blunt. Chris Helmsworth reprises his role as The Huntsman and this time is dealing with her, and her desire to revive her sister.

Yeah, they actually tried to shamelessly cash in on two movies, by slipping a little Frozen in, though a decidedly more adult version. It’s really attacking that mass consumer index from all angles.

hero_The-Huntsman-Winters-War-2016-2 - 02MAY2016

I think an accountant may have written this movie. At least I would think that, if it wasn’t so damn pretty. Because it is a good looking movie. Every single inch of it, from the cast, to the CGI, fight scenes, backdrop and lighting is gorgeous to look at.

Then, Chris Helmsworth spits out line after line with a Scottish accent only a cartoon character would sport. Its painful to listen to. The first time he did it, I laughed in surprise. The accent was so distracting that I decided to look into the first movie, and watched a few clips.

Why was he Scottish in this movie, but not that one? Can you do that? Suddenly just become Scottish? Is that like The Huntsman’s superpower? The sudden, inexplicable ability to sound like the Scottish version of Yosemite Sam?


Also, I was so confused as to what was going on. I mean, seriously lost through the vast majority of it. I think this is supposed to be one of those sequel/prequels, where they slip in the backstory through the story, but the pacing was off and most of the time, I was too busy laughing at that bad accent to care.

If this was on mute, I might think it was a different movie. They invested a lot into effect, but feels like they threw together a script over a weekend and decided to let Helmsworth try out his new accent just because. The attempt to squeeze every little coin out of this franchise is sad.

It got some disappointing results at the box office. It hit number 2 in the box-office at its debut and has earned about $19 million, but I’m guessing that’s not nearly what the first one made. I think they tried to get too much out of the movie and as a result, lost the magic that likely drew viewers to the original. But I have to admit, seeing this gives me no desire at all to see the original. Bad pacing, poor acting and a confusing plot made this too much trouble to watch, despite how pretty it was to look at.

WE GAVE IT: 2 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

2 Stars

[youtube id=”F2-_OQL9fBk” width=”740″ height=”416″]

snow-white-and-the-huntsman-2-2016-online-subtitrat - 02MAY2016

Movie Review: Box Trolls (2014) – Intelligent Animation with an Adorable Weirdness

The Boxtrolls Movie Image Gallery


The Box Trolls have been creeping me out since I was a child, which is why I was hesitant to see them. But as a parent, I feel responsible to review other children’s movies that I think parents might be dragged in too. It is my duty as a reviewer… no matter how much those friggen things might haunt my nightmares.

In this twisted horror movie, an innocent orphan boy named Egg is raised by a family of terrifying monsters made out of cardboard. Ok, so that’s my personal bias shining through. I can’t help it, these things really used creep me out. I don’t know why. When I was a kid, the book that this was based on, “Here Be Monsters” by Alan Snow was enough to give me nightmares for a week.

But something amazing happened when this came to the big screen. I no longer found the Box Trolls terrifying. In fact, they were surprisingly charming. The characters are almost something out of a Dickens novel, with the added weirdness that is simply adorable.

This team of editors had their work cut out for them and they did an admiral job. The stop-motion animation is completely fantastic. This weird, colorful world is creative, interesting and based on reality without being too realistic. Think along the lines of Nightmare Before Christmas in it’s strange, stop-motion take on an alternate universe.




Even the names of the characters are clever. The troll names are made of the things they’re made up of like Fish, Shoe, Oil Can, Egg, etc. They have a cheese based economy. It’s pretty much child centric world building at its best.

The story is well done and intriguing enough for adults with some potential digs at certain political parties. From Mr. Gristle (Tracy Morgan) who is using the Box Trolls as scapegoats to further his own political career, to the evil Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) who is intent on exterminating every last one of them, the bag guys are nefarious and surprisingly familiar.

This is one of those rare finds that’s actually enjoyable for adults as well. While it might be a bit scary for younger viewers, it’s still a fun, cute movie with a fish out of water twist.

Most enjoyable is Egg, the human adopted by the Box Trolls who really has no idea how humans interact with each other. Watching him trying to get along in the human world is sweet and hysterical.

It’s weird that I was ever scared of these things when I was little. Of course, part of that is on my mom for reading me a story about a group of monsters that steal children when I was five. But the more I got to know them, the more I got to like them.

It’s surprisingly political for such a simple movie, with a big focus on social standing and social climbing. It has a valuable moral and intelligent, but simplistic dialog. I’d dare call this the smartest animated film I’ve seen in a long time. If you are a parent, or even if you don’t have kids to drag you to this movie, Box Trolls is worth the watch.

WE GAVE IT: 4 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

4 stars



[youtube id=”Q2dFVnp5K0o” width=”633″ height=”356″]



Movie Review: Cuban Fury (2014)

Cuban-Fury-2013-Movie-PosterIt’s been done worse, and it’s been done better.


Cuban Fury teaches us one thing; white people dancing are funny. While the movie is hardly going to set the world on fire, Cuban Fury does have some redeeming values.

We meet Bruce (Nick Frost), a former salsa dancer from the heyday in the 90s when white people still did it. His tragic back-story includes being a chubby down on his luck everyman who was once forced to eat his own sequins by a group of bullies. Twenty-five years after the sequin incident, he meets his new boss, Julia (Rashida Jones), who just happens to be crazy about the salsa. Complicating matters is his arch nemesis (Chris O’Dowd) playing Bruce’s snide co-worker who vies for Julia’s attentions.

Frost is the perfect lovable loser and he charms in this film, because it’s not your standard ‘fat guy falling down’ gag. Instead, he’s oddly graceful and oddly pitiable, commanding both ridicule and respect. Weirdly, the movie actually treats chubby guys pretty well, which is strange for a comedy.

It doesn’t treat woman quiet as well. Rashida Jones charms as Julia, but you don’t really understand her motivations. First, she’s the boss of these guys and they’re fighting over her, despite the fact that she’s never even seemed remotely interested. Then, all the sudden, she’d picking one? Are they the only two guys left on the planet?

I mean, the premise is sweet, but I’ve never had a man dance his way into my heart.


The movie does have a few good laughs in it, and it doesn’t rely on the lead getting beat up all the time to do it. There’s interesting pacing to the movie, in that one moment the main character is commanding respect, and the next he’s making a fool of himself.

This is not a never been done before premise. It’s another movie featuring an out of shape loser, who meets a pretty girl, cleans up his act, and defeats an inexplicably mean bad guy. The character gets in shape with the help of a montage, the underdog wins and the guy gets the girl. It’s been done worse, and it’s been done better. Cuban Fury is no stand out, but it’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen.

cuban fury 2


cuban fury


The majority of the movie focuses on the love interests, as opposed to the salsa dancing, despite the fact that the two don’t have any real chemistry. When the inevitable love match comes, the audience is left thinking “I give it a week’ rather than “hooray!”.

This is a less classy version of Strictly Ballroom and a much less funny version of the Wedding Singer. There wasn’t enough chemistry between the two leads to turn it into a viable rom-com, but there wasn’t enough humor to turn it into straight up comedy. It fell strictly in the middle.

While Cuban Fury will hardly get you dancing, it will help you remember those embarrassing days at Salsa class in the 90s. It might be worth the watch if you catch it on video, but I wouldn’t make the trip to the theater for it.  Watch the Cuban Fury Official Trailer below:

[youtube id=”FFSP9iO71AE” width=”633″ height=”356″]