Hotel Transylvania 2 Review Roundup: Despite Predicted Box Office Success, It …

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. In this mildly amusing sequel to 2012’s “Hotel Transylvania,” slacker human Jonathan (Andy Samberg) is marrying his vampire love, Mavis (Selena Gomez), bringing together a human and monster guest list that predictably results in silly, if not particularly laugh-aloud shenanigans.

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. Once Mavis and Jonathan are officially newlyweds, the story line fast-forwards as the two announce her pregnancy and welcome ginger-curled Dennis to the family. 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. While vampa (“vampire” plus “grandpa”) Dracula (Adam Sandler) is thrilled with his first grandson, he’s impatient for the boy’s fangs to descend, something that must happen by age 5.

Drac enlists his middle-aged monster besties — werewolf Wayne (Steve Buscemi), Frankenstein (Kevin James), invisible man Griffin (David Spade) and mummy Murray (Keegan-Michael Key) — to help show sheltered Dennis what it means to be a monster. To initiate the boy into his role as a creature of the night, the monster squad revisits its old Transylvania haunts with Dennis, a bit that’s easily the highlight of the movie. 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.

At one point, a decidedly unfrightened man tells Drac, “Love your chocolate cereal.” Underneath the layers of gross-out humor (the gelatinous creature Blobby envelops others whole and then spits them out covered in goo) and the many jokes about the coddling nature of modern parenting, there are surprisingly relevant messages about tolerance, acceptance and identity. 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.

Drac desperately wants his half-vampire, half-human progeny to get his fangs, not recognizing that Dennis already fully embraces his monster heritage. 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. Working off a predictable script by Sandler and Robert Smigel, director Genndy Tartakovsky hasn’t created the sort of sequel that eclipses the original, but then again the original wasn’t exactly “Toy Story” or “How to Train Your Dragon.” If you enjoy Sandler’s brand of obvious humor and don’t mind noticeable Sony product placements, this inoffensive sequel is, like its predecessor, just enough for a Halloween treat.

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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