True History of the Kelly Gang
The Half of It
Beastie Boys Story
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‘The Secret Life of Pets' was a pretty average animated film whose "what do our pets get up to when we're not around" premise made it relatable, funny and charming to pet owners/lovers.
The sequel has practically nothing to do with its title anymore (you can only pull that trick once, after all) and loses anything that made it somewhat original. Now we're into very familiar animated-animal territory that we've all seen many times before. Sure, there are some good messages (albeit very standard stuff) and a few things that'll probably make you smile, but for the most part, as with its predecessor, it's not particularly memorable and, in fact, the most stand-out thing is the colourful animation (the backgrounds are lovely) and character design.
In short, kids might enjoy it and there are a few moments that might catch your attention, but for most adults, there's not much here.
For those exposed to Guy Ritchie's early work (‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels', ‘Snatch') before anything else and found themselves missing that gritty, stripped-back, typically British flair that defined his films, ‘The Gentlemen' is closer to that than he's gotten in years after making a number of big, Hollywood-polished blockbusters.
It's got gangsters; it's got the London setting complete with copious amounts of swearing; it's got the twisty plot and jumping back and forth in time; it's got the vulgar comedy that often involves violence; and it's got a great cast to go with it. What stops this from being up there with the best of his work is the distinct lack of interesting, colourful and unusual characters (save Hugh Grant who steal's the spotlight with his role) which means that the aforementioned cast often goes to waste.
Nevertheless, it's still pretty fun; I just hope that if there's to be a sequel, Ritchie manages to find a way to infuse a bigger dose of that original flavour that packs more of a wallop.
Ah yes, the Coen Brothers are all over this. In their signature style, ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs' uses a familiar combination of black comedy and dark drama to create an anthology of Western films that each tell an interesting story, some lighter in tone, others darker; each a meditation on life and death and just how little people seemed to care about either in the harsh Wild West.
The way the story plays out is surprising dull coming from Laika and doesn't come close to reaching the heights of some of the studios previous efforts. Nevertheless, it's still beautifully animated, as always, and thanks to a talented voice-cast and a script that offers moments of humour and sweetness, it still ends up having a certain charm.
If all you're looking for is a lot of action, then this will do it for you with its non-stop pace. But the script is not great with its cheesy dialogue, badly written characters, and a messy plot that tries to do too much, as well as being full of plot holes and things that don't make sense. Worst of all, I think, is how it's trying so damn hard to be progressively feminist that it loses sight of everything else.