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THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2

Life of Pets Cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from directors Chris Renaud, Jonathan del Val and Universal Pictures is the continuing saga of what our pets do when we aren’t at home with THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2.

Max (Patton Oswalt) and Duke (Eric Stonestreet) are discovering the changes that life has in store for them. Mom Katie (Ellie Kemper) has fallen in love, married and brought little Liam into their lives. Happier than he has ever been, Max also suffers from being over protective of Liam!

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Learning they are going on a road trip, Max and Duke end up on a family farm. Before going, Max asks Gidget (Jenny Slate) to watch his Busy Bee toy and protect it. Duke goes insane with excitement but Max is not as thrilled, especially after meeting the farms work dog Rooster (Harrison Ford). Rough and rugged, Rooster lets Max know that he needs to take his fears by the paws and give them a shake.

Snowball (Kevin Hart) has a visit from a puppy named Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) who tells him the story of a tiger being badly treated by a circus owner. She wants the superhero bunny to help free the big kitty. After a simple slip of the ball, Gidget is now on a mission to find Busy Bee and gets lessons in being a cat from the most unlikely place.

It is mischief, it is mayhem and they are our pets!

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Oswalt voicing the pup Max is a perfect choice as he has the uncanny ability to bring an animated dog to life. Of course I will always love him as Remy but I have room enough in my heart for a little ball of charming insecurities named Max. Stonestreet as Duke is just as big as he wants to be with the heart of a puppy. He loves being with Max and loves his family. He has such a way with the world and just gives it his innocence touch.

Slate as Gidget is just flustery and dreamy with a brain that goes a million miles a minute. She is still keen on Max with hopes for a future and willing to start with Busy Bee. Haddish as Daisy does what she has always done, giving her character attitude.

Hart as Snowball has become a little more full of himself if that’s possible and once he puts on his mask – its all done folks. As things get more complicated, it’s a good thing he has Daisy to take up the furry slack.

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Harrison Ford takes a shot at animation by playing Rooster, a working dog on a farm who knows a thing or two about how to handle himself. He is a little harsh on Max but its all with a goal in mind.

Other cast include Lake Bell as Chloe, Bobby Moynihan as Mel, Hannibal Buress as Buddy, Chris Renaud as Norman, Peter Holm as Chuck and Nick Kroll as Sergei, Dana Carvey as Pops.

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 is a continuation of characters that have brought joy to both kids and adults. From the beginning, these characters led by Max have given us all something to think about when we aren’t at home!

Even though there are several stories going on at once and there doesn’t seem to be a connection, it gets away with it by being cute. In a theatre full of kids, all they know is that it’s funny, colorful, full of adventure, cute animals and a very cute little boy and that’s all that matters.

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All of those things are very true so even though this adult might say blah-blah-blah, my granddaughter had her bag of popcorn, a juice box and wide eyes and that was all I needed to see it through her eyes. The parents were enjoying the chuckles as well as a few adult jokes slipped through.

So, as the school year ends and the kids have time on their hands, make it a fun and laugh filled weekend with THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2.

In the end – you gotta love ‘em!

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VENOM Strikes

 

Venom cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming this Friday from director Ruben Fleischer and Marvel is the next superhero with the help of VENOM.

One night a space probe crashes to earth owned by the Life Foundation and tubes containing life forms are collected. Transported to a lab, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) is thrilled at what is brought back.

Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is a reporter who goes out of his way to report on issues that need his style of uncovering. Good at what he does, it gives him time to enjoy his relationship with his lawyer love Anne (Michelle Williams).

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He is given his next assignment to interview Drake about the Life Foundation and realizes that Anne knows a little about his business. Nosing onto her laptop, he finds information about Drake that he uses the next day during their interview. Much to Drake’s dismay, he ends the interview sending Brock out on his ear.

That move cost Drake his job and his relationship as Anne also loses her job and refuses to forgive him. Everything he worked for is gone in a second at the payback hands of Drake.

Inside, Dr. Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate) who is working with Drake’s research and the creatures that he obtained. Watching what he is doing, she is horrified that Drake is using human beings for testing. She reaches out to Eddie for help in exposing what is happening and he gets inside the Life Foundation to see for himself. What he doesn’t expect is to be leaving wearing a symbiote suit!

Introducing himself as Venom to Eddie, it is clear that it is the beginning of a strange relationship in an effort to stop Drake and what he is doing. Eddie is being affected physically and looks to Anne and beau Dr. Dan (Reid Scott) for help. Venom knows there are other symbiotes and needs Eddie to stop the leader Riot.

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Drake just wants his ‘property’ back and sends head of security Reese (Scott Haze) to round up Eddie. When Drake decides that it’s time to erase humanity, he takes on Riot and now, more than ever, Eddie and Venom have to bring it to save the world.

Hardy as Eddie is going to win over people in the role because of the humor he brings to the role. The relationship he has with Venom is unique because of their ability to communicate and both have a line of sarcasm that is entertaining. Of course I’d prefer Hardy in his role in the television series Taboo, the cable series Peaky Blinders and the film DUNKIRK. It isn’t that I think his role in VENOM isn’t good, it was just predictable and I think I’m getting to old to sit in a theatre for predictable.

Williams as Anne broke character and lost me the minute Anne broke up with Eddie with a simple walk away. Yea girl, I believe you’d do that in real life…nope! This role just didn’t do her any favors (and neither did that short Catholic school girl skirt she ran around in) but I’m sure we’ll see it in the next VENOM movie.

Ahmed as Drake is instantly unlikeable but at least he hasn’t a problem with that. There isn’t anything redeeming about his character and Ahmed makes sure we see that without batting an eye about it. I like Ahmed and have seen his roles become more and more expanded. The mini-series The Night Of truly gave Ahmed the lift and notice that I was thrilled for.

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Slate as Dr. Skirth is daring to go against a powerful boss and it will cost her. Scott as Dr. Dan is oddly alright with an ex-boyfriend showing up out of nowhere but has a reason to freak out when something wicked jumps out of an MRI machine. Haze as Treece is a shark on wheels and his goal is to do whatever it takes to get Eddie and Drake’s extra-terrestrial guest back into his lab.

Other cast include Peggy Lu as Mrs. Chen, Malcolm C. Murray as Lewis Donate, Sope Aluko as Dr. Collins, Wayne Pere as Dr. Emerson, and an appearance by Stan Lee.

VENOM is an action packed film filled with humor, car chases, creatures and sarcasm from both humans and not-so-human. In the vein of all Marvel movies I’m sure fans will be happy to see another character go from page to screen.

For me, I went along for the ride but didn’t feel like I got anywhere by the end of it (and trust me I have to call my son now and ask about a character I don’t know about). This film seemed so busy trying to make the audience laugh while keeping the action going, it seems someone forgot to write a strong script.

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What kept me going was Tom Hardy (and not just because I adore him). It’s because he held his own in a film that needed to be held up by something good. He made me laugh and jump once or twice. I feel like this is a dark DEADPOOL and lawd knows no one, not even Mr. Hardy, is going to take my heart away from that man in a red suit (and we aren’t talking about Santa Claus).

So go, enjoy and move onto the next Marvel movie. When Venom 2 comes out, let us hope that Marvel will get their storyline together and remember that special effects don’t make an entire film.

In the end – embrace your inner anti-hero!

DESPICABLE ME 3 Expands the Family Fun on Bluray!

despic 3

Jeri Jacquin

Get the family together because they family is back on Bluray & DVD from directors Eric Guillon, Kyle Balda and Pierre Cofflin along with Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment with DESPICABLE ME 3.

Gru (Steve Carell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) are on their next mission for the Anti-Villain League going after Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a once child star who took his role into adulthood. With his keytair and 80’s dance moves, Bratt gets away with a diamond as large as his head!

Returning to the AVL headquarters, Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan) announces that he will be stepping down. Taking his job is Valerie Da Vinci (Jenny Slate) and her first move is to fire Gru. Lucy threatens to walk if she follows through with the firing and now both are out of a job. The Minions aren’t happy when Gru refuses to return to villainy and stage a walk out.

Going home to explain it all to Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Nev Scharrel), the parents assure the girls it will all work out. That’s when a stranger shows up and announces that Gru has a twin brother names Dru (also voiced by Steve Carell). Not believing it Gru forces his Mom (Julie Andrews) and he learns the truth about his family.

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Packing the family up, they fly to Dru’s luxurious estate and Gru learns more about who his father was. He also learns that Dru wants to be villainous and it’s Gru’s chance to capture Bratt while Lucy works on her Mom-skills. Bratt isn’t about to make anything easy as he has plans for tinsel town.

In their efforts to strengthen their family, Gru, Lucy and Dru along with the girls learn that love of family is amazing and there is no bad guy big enough to break them apart!

Recently at CinemaCon, Steve Carell spoke about his iconic work as Gru saying the DESPICABLE ME franchise is filled with “characters that are funny for adults as well as kids and that’s what has made it all successful”. How did the voice of Gru come to be? Carell says, “I tried voices on my daughter and when I did the voice of Gru they told me that was the one. Gru’s voice was like I flew over Eastern Europe and Dru’s voice had to be different. It had to be very fun, free and giddy in a way”.

Wiig as Lucy is trying her best to be a good Mom and it takes being herself to let everyone know that no one messes with Mama Bear! I just think the character of Lucy is crazy cool. Cosgrove, Gaier and Scharrel as Margo, Edith and Agnes are just girls growing up in a different household that is filled with unexpected adventure and they roll with it.

Parker as Bratt had me cracking up! His shoulder pads, keytar and dance moves along with a balding mullet and bubblegum means he isn’t about to let Gru, Dru, Lucy or anyone else stop him from a little Hollywood payback.

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Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

The Bluray & DVD also includes the Bonus Features Deleted Scenes, Minion Moments, Character Profiles, The Making of Despicable Me 3, Developing Dru, The AVL Files, Freedonia Visitors Guide, Despicable Me TV, “Doowit” Sing-Along, “Yellow Light” Music Video and the All New Mini Movie: The Secret Life of Kyle.

DESPICABLE ME 3 is going to give families over and over again everything they have come to love about Gru, the girls and even the minions. This may not be the average family but it sure is one filled with love, excitement, understanding and fun. One would have thought that completed the family.

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Of course not, Illumination expands their family with Dru and a unicorn, well of sorts, which means a double dose of excitement. There are the usual jokes with the minions trying to be jail house rockers but they know where they truly belong. The animation is strong, vibrant and has such creativity that I am always surprised yet not surprised.

Gru and Dru have found one another which means Lucy and the girls have their hands full. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing but if Illumination wants one more story line I have a few ideas that I wouldn’t mind sharing!

So gather up your own minions, fill up the popcorn bowl and cuddle on the sofa with holiday family fun of the family kind with DESPICABLE ME 3.

In the end – ohhhhhhhh brother it’s good to be bad!

DESPICABLE ME 3 Expands the Family Fun!

Des

 

Jeri Jacquin

Get the family together because coming to theatres this Friday from directors Eric Guillon, Kyle Balda and Pierre Cofflin along with Illumination Entertainment is DESPICABLE ME 3.

Gru (Steve Carell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) are on their next mission for the Anti-Villain League going after Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a once child star who took his role into adulthood. With his keytair and 80’s dance moves, Bratt gets away with a diamond as large as his head!

Returning to the AVL headquarters, Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan) announces that he will be stepping down. Taking his job is Valerie Da Vinci (Jenny Slate) and her first move is to fire Gru. Lucy threatens to walk if she follows through with the firing and now both are out of a job. The Minions aren’t happy when Gru refuses to return to villainy and stage a walk out.

des 1

Going home to explain it all to Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Nev Scharrel), the parents assure the girls it will all work out. That’s when a stranger shows up and announces that Gru has a twin brother names Dru (also voiced by Steve Carell). Not believing it Gru forces his Mom (Julie Andrews) and he learns the truth about his family.

Packing the family up, they fly to Dru’s luxurious estate and Gru learns more about who his father was. He also learns that Dru wants to be villainous and it’s Gru’s chance to capture Bratt while Lucy works on her Mom-skills. Bratt isn’t about to make anything easy as he has plans for tinsel town.

In their efforts to strengthen their family, Gru, Lucy and Dru along with the girls learn that love of family is amazing and there is no bad guy big enough to break them apart!

Recently at CinemaCon, Steve Carell spoke about his iconic work as Gru saying the DESPICABLE ME franchise is filled with “characters that are funny for adults as well as kids and that’s what has made it all successful”. How did the voice of Gru come to be? Carell says, “I tried voices on my daughter and when I did the voice of Gru they told me that was the one. Gru’s voice was like I flew over Eastern Europe and Dru’s voice had to be different. It had to be very fun, free and giddy in a way”.

des 3

Wiig as Lucy is trying her best to be a good Mom and it takes being herself to let everyone know that no one messes with Mama Bear! I just think the character of Lucy is crazy cool. Cosgrove, Gaier and Scharrel as Margo, Edith and Agnes are just girls growing up in a different household that is filled with unexpected adventure and they roll with it.

Parker as Bratt had me cracking up! His shoulder pads, keytar and dance moves along with a balding mullet and bubblegum means he isn’t about to let Gru, Dru, Lucy or anyone else stop him from a little Hollywood payback.

DESPICABLE ME 3 is going to give families everything they have come to love about Gru, the girls and even the minions. This may not be the average family but it sure is one filled with love, excitement, understanding and fun. One would have thought that completed the family.

des 2

Of course not, Illumination expands their family with Dru and a unicorn, well of sorts, which means a double dose of excitement. There are the usual jokes with the minions trying to be jail house rockers but they know where they truly belong. The animation is strong, vibrant and has such creativity that I am always surprised yet not surprised.

Gru and Dru have found one another which means Lucy and the girls have their hands full. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing but if Illumination wants one more story line I have a few ideas that I wouldn’t mind sharing!

So gather up your own minions and head to the theatres to begin your summer with family fun of a different kind with DESPICABLE ME 3.

In the end – ohhhhhhhh brother it’s good to be bad!

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE is Fun and Full of Surprises!

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Jeri Jacquin

Batman is back from director Chris McKay, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures is a block look into snap-life of THE LEGO BATMAN.

Bruce Wayne (Will Arnett) is a man living in the cowl of Batman. Living an isolated life, even Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) can’t get him to understand it’s time to engage in the world. Constantly saving Gotham from villains, one particular bad guy is working Batman’s last lego.

The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) has teamed up with Harley Quinn (Jenny Slate) to once again try and capture Gotham! When Batman lets the Joker know that there is no connection between them, the green haired bad boy needs to find another way to get Batman’s attention.

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Also, a young Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) wants nothing more than to be part of Bruce Wayne’s orphans club. At Commissioner Gordon retirement party, daughter Barbara (Rosario Dawson) taking the job, she makes it clear that Batman needs to take a step back. All too quickly the party is interrupted by the Joker who makes an astonishing announcement.

Batman knows that the Joker is pulling something and decides to send him someplace not only far away, but in another dimension. Taking Dick, now Robin, on a mission of sorts, Batman seeks out the one thorn in his side – Superman (Channing Tatum). The plan is to get the weapon that will put Joker in the Phantom Zone.

What he didn’t expect is that the Joker had a bigger plan and now Batman needs to come to the realization that he can’t do this solo. To take back Gotham, the caped crusader turns to the most unlikely gang to save the city.

Arnett as Bruce Wayne/Batman is nothing but absolutely spectacular. Lets be serious here, this is a Lego character with very little facial expressions to speak of so the win is all in the voice of Arnett. From the moment the theatre lights dimmed, Arnett takes us into the Lego-psyche of the man in black. I knew from the 2014 THE LEGO MOVIE that Batman needed to have a film of his own, here it is and it’s awesome!

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Galifianakis as The Joker is funny, emotional and down right stubborn. Wanting more from the Batman to validate him as a villain, he takes another tact that keeps Batman and Barbara uber suspicious. Galifianakis always makes his character vulnerable with an evil grin, as this particular Joker he is perfect.

Dawson as Barbara Gordon finally says out loud what most people think about Batman which makes him nuts. She’s tough, strong and has no problem kickin’ Lego and taking names.

Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth is a butler/friend/father-figure to Bruce Wayne with the soft and supportive voice of Fiennes. Don’t let the soft voice fool you! Cera as Grayson/Robin is just looking for a family again. Of course being part of Bruce Wayne’s family is one thing but being part of Batman’s team is a whole other reason to put on a sparkly cape and goggles.

More of the amazing vocal cast include Jonah Hill, Jermaine Clement, Zoe Kravitz, Ellie Kemper, Kate Micucci, Adam Devine, Seth Green, Mariah Carey, Billy Dee Williams, Jason Mantzoukas, Riki Lindhome, Eddie Izzard, Doug Benson and Siri!

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE five Lego’s out of five! From the moment the movie starts, the laughs begin and continue on past the credits. There is nothing better than forgetting you are watching an animated film because the laughter comes first.

There are plenty of fantastic lines beginning with the DC logo appearing and Batman announcing “DC – the house that Batman built”. Did you think this particular Batman wasn’t going to take the opportunities to say his piece? It doesn’t stop there as the film tackles prior Batman’s going back to the 1960’s, personal conflict with Superman, family issues and every imaginable thing in-between.

This is a truly great opportunity for families to get together. There are so many characters in the film its going to be fun to point them out to each other. Equally, there are so many cool references and one-liners I can guarantee that the laughs will never stop. I am refraining from mentioning too much because this is one of those times where it’s more important that everyone have fun with all the surprises coming.

So pack up the family and head out to the theatre because this is the best way to start out 2017 in animation with THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE!

In the end – always be yourself…unless you can be Batman!

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS Snuggles onto Bluray

secret-life-bluray

 

Jeri Jacquin

Our loyal and furry four legged friends (some with two legs and some with wings!) are coming to Bluray this week as directors Yarrow Cheney, Chris Renaud and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment releases THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS.

Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) is a happy dog who absolutely loves his human Katie (Ellie Kemper) living in Manhattan. Spending his days waiting or napping, Max also has other animal friends like pink bowed and seriously fluffy doggy Gidget (Jenny Slate).

Excited that Katie is finally home, Max is about to get the surprise of his life when she introduces him to Duke (Eric Stonestreet). Duke isn’t exactly apartment trained and Max is not thrilled to be sharing his home so their relationship doesn’t start off well.

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When the dog walker collects the group for a walk to the park, Max gets it in his head to get rid of Duke. It quickly backfires and both dogs are swooped up by animal control. The only thing that saves them is an accident created by an adorable big eared white bunny named Snowball. It doesn’t take long to realize that Snowball (Kevin Hart) has serious issues!

Accepting Max and Duke into their sewer group, the two dogs learn that there are many species of animal living below ground. Snowball wants to bring anarchy to the human-pet system and sees Max and Duke as new recruits.

Meanwhile, Gidget realizes that Max is missing and decides to take it upon herself to find him. Unlikely helpers are Tiberius (Albert Brooks) the hawk who sees everything as food, Pops (Dana Carvey) a hound who doesn’t let aged legs stop him and more.

It’s about knowing who your friends are no matter how many legs you have!

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C.K. as Max is absolutely lovely! His voice is so animated and fits this furry character so well and it’s a nice change. Capturing the personality of this little dog who clearly loves his human is so heart warming. Watching the relationship grow between Max and Duke is a lot of fun.

Stonestreet as Duke is a big lug of a dog who just wants a home and somebody to love. When Max doesn’t exactly welcome him with open arms, a not-so-nice Duke comes out to play. He’s a lot like Max in that he is more bark than bite.

Slate as Gidget is hyper, funny, okay actually hilarious and serious. It’s pretty clear that Gidget is harboring feelings for Max and if anything else it motivates her more to find her friend! Don’t let the fluff and bows fool you though because between taming a hawk and taking on a psycho-bunny, Gidget is definitely a worthy pup-ponent!

Hart as Snowball is, of course, hilarious and a bit psychotic actually. I mean bunnies are strange creatures as it is and Hart gives us a reason to question their cuteness from this moment on!

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Other voice cast include Jaime Camil as Fernando, Sandra Echeverria as Maria, Michael Beattie as Tattoo, Steve Coogan as Ozone/Reginald, Chris Renaud as Norman, Bobby Moynihan as Mel, Hannibal Buress as Buddy and Lake Bell as Chloe.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS four tubs of popcorn out of five. I love the characters and so did my granddaughter who couldn’t stop laughing at Gidget’s hyperness. Translated means this Bluray will be in the player for months to come and I won’t mind it one little bit.

Anyone with a growing family media library like so many I know are filling their own shelves with fantastic animated films like this one. There is fun, laughter, friendship and memorable characters which is what allows us all to be kids at heart with the little ones in our lives.

Several of the characters reminded me of friends’ pets and which means Illumination did their job to perfection. My own cat has an attitude and knocking things away and being a fussy eater is high on his list of things to keep me on my toes about.

fluffy-dog

The animation by the same folks that brought us DESPICABLE ME, Illumination Entertainment clearly knows what fans of animated films want in story as well as amazing and colorful animation. This is one studio I’d love to visit just to watch their creative process and flow of ideas – okay I also want to know what they are doing next!

The Bluray/DVD and Digital HD combo also includes the special features of 3 Mini Movies, All About the Pets, Animals Can Talk: Meet the Actors, Hairstylist to the Dogs, The Best of Snowball and More! Also includes are the Bluray Exclusives of How to Make an Animated Film and Anatomy of a Scene.

Gather up the family because your home theatre is the place to be to enjoy the absolutely entertaining and wonderful THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS.

In the end – ever wonder what your pets do when you’re not home?

 

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS is a Fluffy Winner

secret life

 

Jeri Jacquin

Our loyal and furry four legged friends (some with two legs and some with wings!) are coming to the big screen this weekend as directors Yarrow Cheney, Chris Renaud and Illumination Entertainment bring THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS.

Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) is a happy dog who absolutely loves his human Katie (Ellie Kemper) living in Manhattan. Spending his days waiting or napping, Max also has other animal friends like pink bowed and seriously fluffy doggy Gidget (Jenny Slate).

Excited that Katie is finally home, Max is about to get the surprise of his life when she introduces him to Duke (Eric Stonestreet). Duke isn’t exactly apartment trained and Max is not thrilled to be sharing his home so their relationship doesn’t start off well.

secret 2

When the dog walker collects the group for a walk to the park, Max gets it in his head to get rid of Duke. It quickly backfires and both dogs are swooped up by animal control. The only thing that saves them is an accident created by an adorable big eared white bunny named Snowball. It doesn’t take long to realize that Snowball (Kevin Hart) has serious issues!

Accepting Max and Duke into their sewer group, the two dogs learn that there are many species of animal living below ground. Snowball wants to bring anarchy to the human-pet system and sees Max and Duke as new recruits.

Meanwhile, Gidget realizes that Max is missing and decides to take it upon herself to find him. Unlikely helpers are Tiberius (Albert Brooks) the hawk who sees everything as food, Pops (Dana Carvey) a hound who doesn’t let aged legs stop him and more.

It’s about knowing who your friends are no matter how many legs you have!

C.K. as Max is absolutely lovely! His voice is so animated and fits this furry character so well and it’s a nice change. Capturing the personality of this little dog who clearly loves his human is so heart warming. Watching the relationship grow between Max and Duke is a lot of fun.

secret 1

Stonestreet as Duke is a big lug of a dog who just wants a home and somebody to love. When Max doesn’t exactly welcome him with open arms, a not-so-nice Duke comes out to play. He’s a lot like Max in that he is more bark than bite.

Slate as Gidget is hyper, funny, okay actually hilarious and serious. It’s pretty clear that Gidget is harboring feelings for Max and if anything else it motivates her more to find her friend! Don’t let the fluff and bows fool you though because between taming a hawk and taking on a psycho-bunny, Gidget is definitely a worthy pup-ponent!

Hart as Snowball is, of course, hilarious and a bit psychotic actually. I mean bunnies are strange creatures as it is and Hart gives us a reason to question their cuteness from this moment on!

Other voice cast include Jaime Camil as Fernando, Sandra Echeverria as Maria, Michael Beattie as Tattoo, Steve Coogan as Ozone/Reginald, Chris Renaud as Norman, Bobby Moynihan as Mel, Hannibal Buress as Buddy and Lake Bell as Chloe.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS four tubs of popcorn out of five. I love the characters and so did my granddaughter who couldn’t stop laughing at Gidget’s hyperness.

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During the film I could hear adults laughing and saying that several of the characters reminded them of their own pets and I couldn’t agree more. My own cat has an attitude and knocking things away and being a fussy eater is high on his list of things to keep me on my toes about.

The animation by the same folks that brought us DESPICABLE ME, Illumination Entertainment clearly knows what fans of animated films want in story as well as amazing and colorful animation. This is one studio I’d love to visit just to watch their creative process and flow of ideas – okay I also want to know what they are doing next!

Gather up the family because the theatre is the place to be this weekend to enjoy the absolutely entertaining and wonderful THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS.

In the end – ever wonder what your pets do when you’re not home?

ZOOTOPIA Brings On the Cuteness!

zootopia

 

Jeri Jacquin

This Friday from directors Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush and Walt Disney Pictures is the story of believing in the city of ZOOTOPIA.

Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a bunny who wants to break out of the bunny farm. Her dream has always been to become a law enforcement officer. Going to the academy, Judy becomes the first bunny officer and can’t wait to protect and serve. The problem immediately is Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) who decides that Judy would be better at meter maiding than solving crimes.

The biggest crime in Zootopia is the disappearance of many of its citizens and people want action from Mayor Lionheart (JK Simmons). Judy wants to be part of it all so keeps her eyes and ears open. On her rounds she meets Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a fox who is living up to the reputation of being sly. When Judy realizes she’s been had by Nick she isn’t pleased.

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That’s when Mrs. Otterton comes to the station imploring the Chief to help find her husband. In a bit of fast talking, Judy is given a few days to discover new information. The smart bunny turns to Nick who seems to know his way around town and the people in it. Judy also enlists the help of Assistant Mayor Bellwether (Jenny Slate) to track Mr. Otters last known whereabouts.

Judy and Nick become involved in a case that takes them to dangerous places but nothing will stop them from discovering who is responsible!

Goodwin as Judy portrays a delightful bunny that has big dreams. Even with her parent’s supports, everyone is concerned that she might be jumping into something big. Of course they are right but Judy is a strong and independently minded bunny who doesn’t mind proving herself.

Bateman as Nick is an awesome choice. There are lines Nick delivers that could only have been done by Bateman. Nick is living the fox stereotype but learns that there are choices everyone makes – live how everyone expects or live to be the best of yourself.

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Elba as Bogo underestimates his new bunny rookie and that is his first mistake. I like his characters grumpiness for some reason, its funny! I have to throw in a big giggle for LaMarche who plays Mr Big. The whole idea of his character is hilarious and I couldn’t stop laughing.

Simmons as Mayor Lionheart is under the gun to find the missing citizens. I love anything Simmons does so you won’t get a bad thing out of me. Slate as Bellwether is the assistant who doesn’t get much credit for her hard work, especially when the King of the beasts is your boss. She is excited that Judy is on the force!

Other cast include: Octavia Spencer as Mrs. Otterton, Alan Tudyk as Duke Weaselton, Tommy Chong as Yax, Raymond S. Persi as Flash, Maurice LaMarche as Mr. Big, and Shakira as Gazelle.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give ZOOTOPIA three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Disney has once again brought delightful characters and put them with amazing animation. I do have to say that the scene with Flash the Sloth is going to put adults into a huge giggle fit and might not make to many people happy at the DMV. It’s that kind of humor that brings parents to watch films with their kids.

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Keep your eye out for Mr. Big because I certainly couldn’t get enough of that scene. The adults loved the name Duke Weaselton and FROZEN fans will get the joke. Shakira as Gazelle doesn’t get a lot of screen time but she manages to end the film in her own musical way.

The storyline has nice twists and turns and it was pretty cool. Disney brings together every animal you can think of and show how it is possible for everyone to live together. There is diversity in Zootopia and even when a few of the animals are called ‘predators’ and things go wrong, everyone comes together to set things right.

In the end – welcome to the urban jungle!

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