Film Review: “SMALLFOOT” (2018) – This WBA movie is good family fun – great soundtrack – but will it stand out in a crowd

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With this new addition from WBA (Warner Bros. Animation) to the animation game, this clever little spin on the BigFoot/Smallfoot switch-a-roo works fairly well in getting it’s message across. With an all-star voice over cast, that adds a wonderfully sequenced soundtrack with everyone from Channing Tatum, James Cordon, and Common & Zendaya adding their own spin of musical genres. “Smallfoot” cleverly inverts the point-of-view tale of how human and Yetis is to be told, but behind every animation movie, there is a message, and for me this one got a bit dark toned for a moment before it luckily lighted up into a nice, easily understood ending for the kids.

‘SMALLFOOT’ follows the tales of a clan of bigfoots living high up in the Himalayan mountains whose peaceful and orderly lives are disrupted when one of their own Migo (Channing Tatum), stumbles upon a a plane crash in the path of the young Yeti when he was flung off-course during gong target practice. See in Yeti mythology banging the gong raises the sun every day, to follow in his father Dorgle (Danny DeVito), footsteps. It means every morning he catapults himself headfirst towards a giant gong in order to wake the sun up. While investigating the airplane wreckage, Migo discovers a ‘smallfoot’ – a human – who is just as startled to come across the ‘mythical’ being as is the bigfoot itself. It isn’t just that these smallfoots (pssst smallfoots are humans 🙂 ) have thus far been the stuff of myth in fact, it’s that their very existence goes against the community’s long-held beliefs, which are literally set in stone and worn around the neck of the high and mighty Stonekeeper (Common). So as you can probably expect, that very individual is told to either rescind his account or face banishment from the community, but by bravely choosing the latter, opens up a whole new path of knowledge, understanding and enlightenment for his fellow 18-foot hairy denizens.

Lest you think that the movie ends up being too heavy-handed, I can reassure you that it never goes to dark for kids, or for that matter turn preachy. On the contrary, there are plenty of amusing details along the way – like how the fun-loving Migo is at first perfectly content to follow what is told, or the finding out about the S.E.S. (Smallfoot Evidentiary Society) a rebel band of Yetis led by the Stonekeeper’s own daughter Meechee (Zendaya), who assists Migo on his quest to find the Smallfoot and prove once and for all, they aren’t lying or delusional. or how Migo first runs into Percy, an animal TV show host whom is not only desperate to save his show and become famous, but he will become unlikely best buddies with Migo – who in his desperation for clicks tries to convince a fellow reporter to dress up in a Yeti costume so he can pretend to have captured one on camera.

So even though ‘Smallfoot’ never hits the gold standard of feature animations, there is plenty of fun and laughs to be had in this fable on lies and ‘myth-understandings’, as well as on mis-communication and the lack thereof. Like I said, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that its makers haven’t opted for just another superficially glossy piece of kids’ entertainment, and have instead decided to evolve the narrative in more complex and satisfying ways. I brought a 5 year old who loved it and completely understood all of it and that’s a big plus in kids movies today as not all have the younger kids in mind when made. It isn’t small or unambitious by any measure, and is in fact big on both entertainment and emotion, so you’ll find that there’s something for every member of the family – big or small – in this delightful celebration of wonder, discovery and truth.

Grade: C+
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Media Review Screening: Saturday, September 22, 2018 ~ Courtesy of Warner Bros.
“SMALLFOOT IS OUT NATIONWIDE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 // WORLDWIDE RELEASE FOLLOWING IN OCTOBER 2018

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REVIEW: “TRAINWRECK” (2015) Universal Pictures

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And your comedy-date movie for the summer is…(drum roll please) “Trainwreck”!!

Written by and starring this year’s comedic ‘it-girl’ Amy Schumer as “Amy” it chronicles the misadventures of its leading character as she runs through boyfriends, numerous sexual encounters acting all the while as a chronically commitment-challenged career woman, is some serious comedic gold. When her boss “Dianna” (an unrecognizable and hilarious Tilda Swinton) assigns her a story to feature a young sports surgeon “Aaron” (Bill Hader) something happens to Amy she didn’t know was possible…she falls in love.
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The film romantic-comedy side solely rests on the perfectly imperfect character of Amy who I think we can all relate to – as either being it at some point in our own lives or in someone we know. I mean let’s be truthful here … who of us ladies hasn’t walked into a room inappropriately dressed or sat at a baby shower giving a big eyeroll at the “my life is perfect” banalities and so wanting to shut it down. Amy is that girl, the friend we love to have around because she isn’t afraid to do or say what we wish we had the guts to do or say…though she pretty much goes overboard every time and that goes double here and yes, that’s why we love her.
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Schumer is a force here, knocking every gag out of the park but also displaying some quite impressive dramatic skills that one doesn’t expect from a stand-up comedian. Bill Hader is finally given and masters the lead role he deserves perfectly. He is lovable, relatable in every way and is the perfect match for Amy on the big screen. Their chemistry here is undeniable.
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The supporting cast of the film is absolutely solid. Brie Larson is wonderful as “Kim” – Amy’s sister, Colin Quinn is “Gordon” Amy & Kim’s dad, Mike Birbiglia is “Tom” Kim’s husband, and the little scene-stealer child Evan Brinkman as “Allister” rounds off the family. Vanessa Bayer’s “Nikki” is Amy’s co-worker and just as on SNL, she holds her own here.
But perhaps the biggest surprise of the film is are the 2 big name athletes of the film in LeBron James trainwreck 2playing himself and John Cena as “Steven” one of Amy’s flings that you just can’t help but love while grabbing a scene your eyes won’t soon forget. And while I don’t know or follow basketball much (just like Amy in the film I might add) I do know who LeBron is and as it turns out the basketball superstar’s comedic timing is might just be as impressive as his game. The plethora of SNL cast, athlete and musician cameos were a welcome bonus to the movie. trainwreck 4

By now we know that with a Judd Apatow films you’ll get a nice blend of raunchy humor and heart. It is a tried and true formula – and it works again here but with something different and that’s Amy Schumer. Sure there might be a few uneven moments..but the duo here help create one of the funniest romantic comedies I have seen in a long time with one of the most fun finale scenes I’ve had the pleasure of seeing all year long. Most of all – I think we can all say a big HELLO to Amy Schumer – “Moviestar” when this hits theaters..
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This film is fantastically fun, full of laughs, new one-liners for you to memorize and a sweet story to prove that yes, my friends, there is someone for everyone in this world.

Grade: B
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Screening at Arclight Hollywood – Thursday, July 9, 2015 courtesy of Universal Pictures
Nationwide release: Friday, July 17, 2015