“Storks”

It’s a refreshing change of pace for R-rated comedy actors like Andy Samberg, Jordan Peele, and Keegan-Michael Key to show off their comedic talents in an animated family movie. “Storks” is that movie.

“Storks” is set in a world where storks used to deliver babies. The service was shut down, and the storks began delivering packages for a FedEx-style company, Cornerstore. Employee stork Junior (Samberg) regrets not firing human employee Tulip (Katie Crown) when a baby is born! They decide the best course of action is to deliver that baby without their evil boss (Kelsey Grammer) suspecting a thing.

“Storks” is a fast-paced animated comedy with several great visual gags, one-liners, and an imaginative world. This was a date movie for me, and I was surprised at how much fun I was having.

I can attribute my joy to Samberg’s sharp delivery and his chemistry with Crown. Key and Peele also steal a few scenes as a pair of wolves who want to raise the baby as their own. The movie is also quite heartfelt with positive messages about family, and how you can find family in a friend.

I normally don’t like pop songs used in movies (especially after “Suicide Squad” overkilled it), but “Storks” uses its pop songs well. Vance Joy’s “Fire and the Flood” strengthens the sentimental climax.

There are a couple of flaws that bring the movie down a few grades. There’s a stork that Danny Trejo voices, who plays an important part to the script, and we don’t get to know him well like we should. There’s also a little too much verbal exposition for my taste, but this is forgivable due to the film’s energy and humor.

“Storks” is a fun family movie and so far the best movie of September. This month is dreadful, so I’m thankful I chose this as my date movie.

Grade: B

“Nine Lives”

A little note about the writer – Austin Maggs hadn’t ever walked out of a movie halfway through. This changed after he saw “Nine Lives.”

“Nine Lives” follows Kevin Spacey as Tom Brand, a workaholic tycoon with a much younger wife Lara (Jennifer Garner) and a loving daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman). When Rebecca asks Tom for a cat, he rudely adopts one from an eccentric pet store owner (Christopher Walken) and then finds that he’s now trapped inside the cat.

One of my biggest pet peeves in film is a movie that’s marketed as a kids movie when it’s clearly not. “Nine Lives” belongs in the 90s when false kids movies like “First Kid,” “Jingle All the Way,” and “Milk Money” were a trend.

SPOILERS AHEAD! BUT DO YOU EVEN CARE IF I SPOIL THIS CRAP FEST?

In the 45 minutes of “Nine Lives” that I watched, this movie had more aesthetics and narrative tropes of both a bad Lifetime drama and a TV comedy. This includes:

-Tom treating his grown son like an employee and insulting his masculinity.

-Lara befriending Tom’s unlikable ex-wife (Cheryl Hines) without any explanation as to why.

-The ex-wife’s snooty daughter having an annoying frenemy relationship with Rebecca.

-Lara revealing her extramarital affair.

-Tom’s disgruntled vice president trying to kill him.

-At least five boring business meetings filled with exposition and scotch. Those scenes alone belong in “Mad Men.”

Barry Sonnenfeld (the “Men in Black” trilogy) directed this disasterpiece, and the mighty has fallen. His overuse of whip pans, quick zooms, and bad CG make me wonder if the budget was actually thirty million dollars. Imdb and Wikipedia say it is, but I still don’t believe it.

I know I shouldn’t review this movie since I didn’t even finish it, but I saw enough of “Nine Lives” to determine this is the worst movie of 2016. And 2016 isn’t even over!

Grade: F