Family Filmgoer reviews ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ and more

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ review: Sequel bests the original.

It’s as rare as vampires on a beach to have a movie sequel be better than the original. Hotel Transylvania 2, which opens in theaters Friday, is Sony’s animated sequel to the 2012 Golden Globe-nominated film of the same name co-written by and starring Hollywood’s leading funny man Adam Sandler The film takes place 7 years after the characters were last seen on the silver screen.

The pop star and actress revealed to Extra TV in a segment that aired Tuesday, Sept. 22 that body-shaming inspired some of the songs on her upcoming second solo album, Revival. “I was getting a lot of hate for my body and ‘you’re gaining weight,’ and so I was in Mexico and I was just feeling all of this stuff and I would be lying to you if I said it didn’t kind of hurt my feelings, but I kind of channeled that into my music,” Gomez, 23, said. “[The songs I wrote] on the record are ‘Survivors,’ ‘Kill Em With Kindness,’ and ‘Rise,’” said Gomez. “It’s, it’s all geared towards me trying to be heard, and I think this is the best thing that I’ve ever done in my whole career and I’m so excited.” “I think it’s equally as important to have people who aren’t in the industry,” said Gomez, whose in-the-industry pals include Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato. Count Dracula’s daughter Mavis and human Johnny, who we met in the first film, now have a young son named Dennis who doesn’t display any vampire skills—a devastating reality for grandpa Count Dracula, voiced by Sandler. While employing the help of his friends to transform Dennis, Dracula’s father, Vlad arrives, wreaking havoc when he realizes humans are allowed at the resort. His voicing of Dracula, a blood-drinking dad who is concerned about the love life of his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), was the only thing that stood out. Dracula’s human-hating father, Vlad, poses a brief threat, but the finale is all about acceptance. (89 minutes) The saga moves along briskly in this solid second adaptation, based on James Dashner’s dystopian sci-fi trilogy.

Teens will likely be pleased with the action, atmospherics and well-acted characters close to their age, taking control in a crisis, although some middle-schoolers may find it a little too intense. The studio will be very happy if they hit $32M; in fact that would make it their highest opening calendar year to date before Spectre stacks bodies,” Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro wrote. “If the Adam Sandler vehicle –which he produced, co-wrote and voiced — hits that high mark, attribute it to the fact that there hasn’t been a full-blooded studio family toon in the market since Universal/Illumination’s Minions.”

Not just a mid-story placeholder, “The Scorch Trials” clicks along, with more warlike violence and attacks by zombie-like creatures called Cranks whose bites, laden with the “flare virus,” doom the victim. This allows for some entertaining parallel comedy as Dracula and his motley crew learn their world has been modernized to the point they are more rock stars than feared creatures. The story picks up where “The Maze Runner” left off: Thomas and his friends, just escaped from the Glade and the evil organization WCKD that held them captive, are “rescued” by military helicopters and taken to a bunker. So he leads another escape into an urban desert called the Scorch, where they join with rebels. (132 minutes) THE BOTTOM LINE: The mayhem intensifies, with lethal weapons fire and the crazed Cranks. The script includes occasional use of the Thanks to a winning performance by Robert De Niro and scenes between him and a young supporting cast that really crackle, “The Intern” survives — by a thread — the disastrous flaws of narrative and logic in director Nancy Meyers’s script.

De Niro plays Ben, a retired 70-year-old widower who applies for a “senior internship” at a hugely successful online clothing site founded by the disorganized Jules (Anne Hathaway). The running gag of the Invisible Man claiming to have an Invisible Woman girlfriend works both as a solid joke and because David Spade brings just the right loser tone to the role.

A predictable yet slick and satisfying little thriller, “The Perfect Guy” has too much violence and sexual content for younger teens and is better geared to high-schoolers. After breaking up with her longtime boyfriend Dave (Morris Chestnut) because he’s been reluctant about marriage and kids, she meets Carter (Michael Ealy).

But Carter is too charming and secretive by half, and Leah soon sees a grimmer side to his personality — so grim that she feels stalked and threatened. Teens who are into adventure movies, or just good drama, will be glad to have scaled “Everest.” Based on accounts of ill-fated expeditions in May 1996, in which eight climbers lost their lives, the film centers on Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), a seasoned and careful climber from New Zealand who led commercial expeditions to Everest, and his competitor and pal, Seattle-based Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal).

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