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By Michelle Swami August 11 – 14, 2017 Salmo River Ranch, BC VANCOUVER – This year marked the 20th anniversary of…

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The Vidiot: July 2017

Sunday 09th, July 2017 / 09:26

 

By Shane Sellar

Power Rangers
The most important lesson Powers Rangers taught children was which colour represents which race.

Sadly, that useful education tool has been omitted from this fantasy.

When a disgraced quarterback (Dacre Montgomery), a troubled cheerleader (Naomi Scott), an autistic nerd (RJ Cyler), a lesbian loner (Becky G) and a momma’s boy (Ludi Lin) unearth ancient colour-coded coins, they gain unimaginable powers.

Aided by their new mentor (Bryan Cranston), his android (Bill Hader) and their vehicles that can morph into a mega mecha, the quintet sets out to stop a former ranger (Elizabeth Banks) from finding the all-powerful Zeo Crystal.

While this update of the superhero kids’ show manages to represent all races and special interests, its inconstant tone keeps it from telling an engaging story. The lack of mega-sized monsters is also concerning.

Incidentally, the best way to keep colossal combatants off your building is to install massive bird spikes.

CHIPS

Escaping from a motorcycle cop is as easy as jumping off the back of the bike at a red light.

Mind you, the officers in this comedy would be lucky just to make an arrest.

FBI agent Ponch (Michael Peña) goes undercover to expose corruption inside of California Highway Patrol after a rash of armoured car heists have gone unsolved by the department’s lieutenant (Vincent D’Onofrio). Unfortunately, Ponch’s new partner (Dax Shepard) is a retired competition dirt bike racer with a serious painkiller addiction.

However, Ponch’s own secret sex addiction is also keeping him from concluding the investigation.

Based on the 1980s cop drama, this boilerplate buddy-comedy written and directed by Shepard falls far short of its intrepid inspiration. Marred by unfunny jokes, an obvious villain and over-the-top bike chases, CHIPS is more trash than tribute.

Unfortunately, funerals for cops who ride motorcycles do require more than one coffin.

Life

The best part of finding new forms of life is getting to name them after overrated ‘70s rock bands.

However, the scientists in this sci-fi movie won’t have time to name their deadly discovery The Eagles.

While en route back home, crewmembers aboard an international space station  (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds) uncover a latent organism in some Martian topsoil.

When the entity is roused, everyone is ecstatic. When it begins to feed off them for sustenance, they become panicked. Meanwhile, the ship has lost all communications and has started displacing fuel, threatening their safe reentry to Earth.

With its painfully mundane title, its derivative space alien script, and the astronauts’ scant character development, Life comes off as a pointless and unexciting voyage that is reminiscent of similar interstellar tales that are far superior.

Incidentally, you do have to declare all alien life you purchased on your customs form.

Wilson

The reason they don’t launch average folks into space is because they’d just complain the whole time.

In fact, the squeaky wheel in this comedy wouldn’t even make it past the interview.

Wilson (Woody Harrelson) is a misanthropic, middle-aged curmudgeon with a lack of social grace who spends the bulk of his day antagonizing passersby about their life choices.

When he learns he has a daughter he has never met, Wilson decides to track her (Isabella Amara) and her mother (Laura Dern) down for an impromptu reunion.

But things go awry when Wilson is imprisoned for kidnapping his offspring.

Based on the graphic novel by underground artist Daniel Clowes, Wilson’s sardonic script was also adapted by its creator, with good and bad results. While Harrelson embodies the titular grump, Clowes’ acerbic script insults viewers’ intelligence while not proving it’s any shrewder.

Moreover, people who confront strangers can probably recommend the best pepper-spray.

T2 Trainspotting

You can always tell someone is an ex-junkie by the way they always chew on a hypodermic.

Not as easy as quitting smoking, the former users in this comedy did quit heroin… for a while.

Returning to Edinburgh 20 years after fleeing with cash he and his mates scored in a heroin deal, Renton (Ewan McGregor) reconnects with the one least likely to kill him (Ewen Bremner) first.

Violent encounters with Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle) come afterwards. Following the reunion, the foursome work on a plan to secure a business loan for a brothel. But some seek to settle old debits.

This sequel to the 1996 cult classic finds the same cast and director, Danny Boyle, returning for a second hit. Unfortunately, that entails removing everything pleasurable about the first and injecting the characters with boring 21-century cynicism.

Ironically, with today’s safe injection sites, heroin use is practically encouraged.

The Lego Batman Movie

The upside to Lego Batman is when he runs out of batarangs he can become a choking hazard.

Fortunately, the Caped Crusader in this animated-comedy is well equipped.

Batman’s (Will Arnett) plan to banish The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) to the Phantom Zone backfires when he escapes—along with an array of other villains—and wreaks havoc on Wayne Manor.

To stop him, the notorious loner must rely on his new ward (Michael Cera) and his butler (Ralph Fiennes) for assistance.

Meanwhile, the new police commissioner (Rosario Dawson) moves forward with plans to banish Batman.

A direct descendant of The Lego Movie, this silly spin-off featuring the Batman character brings levity to the Bat-franchise—especially self-awareness—but not all of the jokes are winners. In fact, this movie’s frenzied pace does the comedy a disservice.

Incidentally, the Lego Batmobile retails for about the same price as the real one.

John Wick: Chapter 2

Usually, the second chapter of a retired hitman’s biography never gets completed.

Surprisingly, the ex-assassin in this action movie still has his brains inside his head.

Out of obligation to guild rules, former button-man John Wick (Keanu Reeves) must liquidate the sister of a notorious kingpin when he calls in an old mark to keep her from ascending to the high council of crime. Things go awry for John when his employer places a bounty on his head for killing his sister.

To get revenge, John will need help from another crime czar (Laurence Fishburne).

Picking up after the first movie, this slick sequel doesn’t waste any time getting down to highly choreographed fistfights and shoot-outs that defy physics. But unlike the original, the story this time around is less emotional and more brainless.

Besides, the best way to kill a retired hitman is to poison their early-bird dinner special.

Beauty and the Beast

The upside to marrying a beast is you can forgo getting a family pet.

Mind you, the opposite species in this musical may not even make it that far.

When the mysterious owner of an abandoned castle imprisons her father (Kevin Kline) for theft, independent adolescent Belle (Emma Watson) embarks on a journey to take his place behind bars.

On arrival she discovers her father’s captor is an anthropomorphic beast (Dan Stevens) that was cursed by a witch, along with his staff (Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson), who are now sentient household items.

Disney’s semi-live-action adaptation of their own animated version of the French fairy tale, this shot-for-shot remake is a visual feast for the eyes and fun for all ages – even if the beast does look strange and Belle’s suitors are too mature for her.

Unfortunately, the success of this fable could spark bestiality trends among young people.

A Cure for Wellness

Without the Internet people would be diagnosing themselves with ailments they didn’t have.

Unfortunately, the health resort in this psychological thriller doesn’t have WiFi.

Dispatched by board members to bring their missing CEO back from a Swiss sanitarium so he can finalize a merger, company up-and-comer Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) agrees to meet with the resident physician (Jason Isaacs) concerning visitation.

Conveniently, Lockhart later checks himself in after an accident. Inside he meets Hannah (Mia Goth), who drinks blue liquid to stay in the pink and tells Lockhart of the doctor’s misdeeds concerning female fertilization.

While it does have an intriguing story with striking visuals, colour schemes and set design, this timely tale of moral integrity versus moral corruption—and the cure for it—is extremely long-winded in its delivery with a laughable lead performance from its dead-eyed star.

Moreover, Swiss wellness retreats are really just magnificently expensive placebos.

Fist Fight

Nowadays when teenagers fist fight after school they do so online using avatars.

The feuding educators in this comedy, however, are settling their beef the old school way.

Amid the year-end pranks from the graduating class and internal layoffs in their faculty (Tracy Morgan, Christina Hendricks), milquetoast English instructor Andy (Charlie Day) sets off the unstable history teacher, Ron (Ice Cube), who subsequently challenges the timid family man to a fist fight after class.

Andy then spends the rest of the last day of school trying to evade the beat down by getting Ron fired or imprisoned.

Wasting a talented comedic cast on a humourless and distasteful script that brings nothing new to the high school movie sub-genre, this needlessly vulgar endeavour into cutbacks and bullying is best left back a year so it can mature into a functional comedy.

Incidentally, teachers only fight after school because their wages are so low.

The Shack

God lets children die because he needs their souls to work the coalmines in Heaven.

However, this drama maintains that Paradise adheres to all child labour laws.

Family man Mack (Sam Worthington) is destroyed when a serial killer abducts and murders his daughter while she is on a camping trip. In his grief Mack receives a mysterious letter telling him to come to a shack in the woods.

Assuming he’s there to meet his daughter’s kidnapper, Mack is shocked to discover three strangers (Octavia Spencer, Sumire, Avraham Aviv Alush) inside, waiting to teach him all about forgiving his enemies.

Well it no doubt has an interesting, albeit unrealistic, take on absolution, this melodramatic adaptation of the self-published Canadian bestseller comes with some heavy proselytization and hokey acting from both human and deity alike.

Moreover, if the Trinity only needs a shack, why does the Pope need a whole city?

 

He’s a Man of Codependent Means. He’s the…

Vidiot

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