By Shane Sellar
Surprisingly, the worst villain in the game, World of Warcraft, is your spouse’s divorce lawyer.
Luckily, that bloodsucking shyster is nowhere near this fantasy/adventure film based on the popular online game.
When an ancient magic reappears in the realm of Azeroth, the king (Dominic Cooper) sends a knight (Travis Fimmel), a wizard (Ben Foster) and his apprentice (Ben Schnetzer) on a campaign to uncover its origin.
They eventually ascertain that the leader of a rogue band of orcs (Clancy Brown) is using sorcery to sustain a portal capable of bringing his horde to their world.
With help from a half-human orc (Paula Patton) the trio hopes to disengage the doorway in time.
This poorly animated live-action adaptation is largely a fan-centric experience. Hindered by half-assed acting and far too much exposition, Warcraft is too convoluted for the noobs.
Incidentally, the best way to defeat orcs is to use J. R. R. Tolkien’s estate lawyers.
High school reunions are a great opportunity to rob the homes of your former classmates.
Unfortunately, the alumnus in this action-comedy chose the right side of the law.
Athletic and academic all-star Calvin (Kevin Hart) is having a hard time accepting his adult existence as a boring accountant, but all that changes when the fat kid from his graduating class, Bob (Dwayne Johnson), shows up fit and claiming to be a CIA agent tracking a master thief.
Things get complicated when a second agent (Amy Ryan) appears, arguing that Bob is actually the master thief they are after.
While it is yet another buddy-comedy for Hart, what sets this clone apart is its inclusion of Johnson as its comedic half. More than capable of keeping the far-fetched script on-track, he also makes his outlandish character work.
Moreover, telling your old classmates that you’re a spy is cooler than telling them you’re childless.
For some unknown reason sharks always get the munchies after eating a surfer.
However, it’s hard to tell if the great white shark in this thriller has bloodshot eyes or not.
Determined to surf the same isolated inlet that her recently-deceased mother surfed when she was younger, Nancy (Blake Lively) drops out of medical school and heads to Mexico.
Her memorial quickly turns into a struggle for survival, though, as she finds herself stalked by the same shark that laid waste to the humpback whale she sits atop.
Injured, Nancy eventually makes it over to a cluster of rocks, and later a buoy where she makes her last stand.
A novel cat-and-mouse concept that falls apart on execution, this idiotic one-woman show is not only implausible, but its special effects are as laughable as Lively’s deadpan performance.
Incidentally, sharks are more corporative if you tell them you’re with the Discovery Channel.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
The worst thing about living next to a frat house is hearing rape whistles all night.
Fortunately, the home in this comedy is adjunct to an innocuous sorority.
A freshman (Chloë Grace Moretz) is so disenchanted with her sorority’s rules on partying that she and a small contingent rent out their own house.
New parents (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) are looking to sell their home so they can move to the ‘burbs, yet are unable to because a sorority has just moved in next door.
With the help of a former frat boy (Zac Efron), the couple hopes to oust the co-eds.
While advertised as a sequel, Sorority Rising is simply the original retold in an improved format, with female leads instead of males and funny jokes in lieu of a fusillade of phallic ones.
Incidentally, with the amount of pervs around you should have no trouble selling a house next to a sorority.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
If society ever found out that mutated turtles dressed as ninjas actually existed, it would shame them for cultural appropriation.
Surprisingly, this action-adventure ignores their exploitation of feudal Japan.
When the turtles and friends (Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett) learn of Baxter Stockman’s (Tyler Perry) mutagen that turns humans into animals, they hope it works in reverse.
Elsewhere, an alien overlord from another dimension needs Shredder’s (Brian Tee) help in acquiring three components that will open a portal, allowing him to invade Earth.
Although the character designs still come off more gecko than turtle, this superior follow-up to the irritating original film finally embraces its middle-aged fan-base – and its animated origins – by adding beloved backup characters into the mix, as well as amping up the effects-laden action to Saturday morning cartoon proportions.
Furthermore, it’s easy to tell if someone used to be a turtle because all they wear are turtlenecks.
Captain America: Civil War
The good thing about being resuscitated today is Captain America and Bucky no longer have to hide their gay relationship.
Mind you, this action/fantasy still plays it as a brotherly bond.
When someone gains access to the Winter Soldier’s (Sebastian Stan) trigger words, they order him to attack a UN conference on the registration of enhanced humans.
Now Cap (Chris Evans) and some like-minded Avengers (Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner) are opposing Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) and the rest (Scarlett Johansson, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle) in order to protect Bucky, and their right to fight ungoverned.
While it’s the third entry in the Cap franchise, Civil War feels like a mini-Avengers movie considering the number of cameos in it. Fortunately, Cap remains at the forefront of this multifaceted and masterfully crafted chapter.
However, unlike America’s other Civil War, this version has a serious lack of mutton chops.
The Conjuring 2
The biggest difference between American and British ghosts is the latter stops haunting you at teatime.
However, this horror movie doesn’t divulge if its phantoms take one lump or two.
Amityville experts Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are dispatched by the Vatican to investigate a demonic possession across the pond.
However, Lorraine is hesitant in helping a mum (Frances O’Connor) rid her daughter (Madison Wolfe) of a demon due to a prophetic dream she had involving Ed’s death.
While she eventually agrees to participant, the case itself may not be as supernatural as they first thought.
Based on one of Britain’s most notorious hauntings, this somewhat factual sequel is enhanced by the ambiguity of the Enfield occurrences themselves. Meanwhile, the reprising leads remain magnetic, and the scares are more mature than most.
Furthermore, once Brexit kicks in most all of England’s ghosts are going to emigrate.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
The reason Canadian singers move to the States to work is because they’re sick of being paid in bags of loonies.
Mind you, the performer in this comedy is only parodying a Canuck crooner.
When his latest album drops like a lead balloon, b-boy turned pompous pop star, Conner4Real, (Andy Samberg) is left reeling.
Desperate to become relevant for his singing instead of embarrassing stage mishaps, Conner begrudgingly reconnects with the crew (Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone) responsible for his early hits.
But can the reunion withstand the constant call for Conner to remain solo?
A rockumentary in every sense of the made-up word, Popstar’s style, which includes endless celebrity interviews and raunchy road antics, lives up to its designation. But that doesn’t mean that every joke in this hipster comedy works – in fact, very far from it.
And as always when an old band reunites, casinos across the country get wet.
First-time investors feel more comfortable with an in-your-face financial advisor.
Case in in point: the abrasive on-air expert in this thriller.
Known for his unorthodox delivery, Money Monster host Lee Gates (George Clooney) is no stranger to audience uproar. It’s not until an incensed investor (Jack O’Connell) enters his studio with a bomb, however, does Lee feel the effect of his advice firsthand.
Now, it’s up to him and his producer (Julia Roberts) to defuse the situation live, whilst authenticating the strapped stakeholder’s claim that a CEO (Dominic West) manipulated their company’s stock, costing shareholders millions.
Ripped from today’s headlines and featuring a seasoned cast of actors, this Jodie Foster helmed hostage situation is ripe with potential. Unfortunately, the zealous bomber and evil capitalist characters come off as stock, while the script is overly convoluted.
Meanwhile, this constant corporate corruption is proof you should buy stock in cushy white-collar prisons.
The worst part about being a talented vocalist is you’re the only one who has to sing Happy Birthday solo.
However, the songstress in this biography would likely charge for that performance.
Financially-strapped jazz singer Nina Simone (Zoe Saldana) is committed after threatening her lawyer with a firearm. Under observation she befriends an orderly, Clifton Henderson (David Oyelowo), who she later employs as her aide.
Servitude under Simone, however, is more torturous than expected; Clifton is put in charge of obtaining the booze and the boys needed to keep Nina entertained. When she does perform, her songs always end under duress.
Strictly focused on the soloist’s lowlights, this unauthorized and unflattering interpretation of the radical artist offers little in the way of sympathy or exposition on Miss. Simone’s cultural contributions, or career high notes.
Besides, everyone already knows that playing jazz music is just a gradual form of suicide.
Love & Friendship
A best friend during Victorian times was someone who could write copious letters without hand cramps.
Fortunately, the friends in this romantic-comedy meet face-to-face on occasion.
Unable to obtain her deceased husband’s fortunes due to previous liaisons, Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale) must find her daughter (Morfydd Clark) a prosperous suitor to keep their high society standings.
Her plan plays out at her brother’s country estate – and through correspondence with her American friend (Chloë Sevigny) – where she hopes to pawn off her first-born on dimwitted Sir James (Tom Bennett), and claim her brother’s friend (Xavier Samuel) for herself.
Her past indiscretions and an unplanned pregnancy, however, threaten her plot.
One of the very few period comedies around, this adaptation of communiqués composed by Jane Austen is quite cheeky, whilst remaining rather proper. More surprising is Beckinsale’s performance as the coquettish countess.
Thankfully, nowadays, daughters can pick their own rich husband to marry.
He’s an After-Mathematician. He’s the…