Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012)

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (2012) star-full1.jpgstar-full1.jpgstar-half1.jpgstar-no1.jpgstar-no1.jpg

I suppose you could say that this third official entry in the Madagascar franchise is exactly what I expected it to be. At its heart, this is a children’s movie with a relatively simple plot, eschewing some of the more adult-oriented in-jokes that we found in movies like Shrek. We pick up where we left off in Madagascar 2; the band of animals are “stuck” in Africa and they want to find a way back to their zoo in the United States.

Except, somehow, they take a massive detour to get there. Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and the rest of the crew meet up with a European circus that has seen brighter days. We are introduced to a handful of new characters in Madagascar 3, like Vitaly the Tiger and Gia the Jaguar, and through some random misadventures and misteps, they find themselves running the circus in an attempt to find their way back home.

The story is weak, but there are enough cheap jokes and sight gags here to keep the kids amused for an hour and a half. For me, Madagascar 3 is ultimately forgettable but not an unreasonable way to kill some time.

The Expendables 2 (2012)

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Don’t you think Jean-Claude Van Damme looks a little too much like Wesker from Resident Evil? He plays the main bad guy in The Expendables 2 and, almost tongue in cheek, his character’s name is Jean Vilain. That’s “villain” with one “L.” Arnold Schwarzenegger also makes a couple of notable cameos in this movie, clearly poking fun at his own action hero past. They even mention that he’ll “be back.”

Just as the Scary Movie franchise parodied the horror movie genre, The Expendables 2 is clearly having fun with the action movie genre. You get a superstar cast including Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone. I personally enjoyed the outrageous performance by Terry Crews, perhaps because it reminded me of his Old Spice commercials. Again, the plot here doesn’t really matter–it involves plutonium and world domination–because all we want is a lot of guns, a lot of explosions, and plenty of violence.

In that regard, while not quite as clever as RED, The Expendables 2 is a wildly enjoyable romp for anyone who grew up watching the cheesy action movies of the 80s and 90s.

The Loved Ones (2009)

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Sometimes, my friend finds the strangest movies for us to watch. This kitschy Australian horror movie is not at all what I expected. You have what appears to be a high school prom. One of the boys, who experienced a traumatizing event not too long ago, gets asked to the dance by one of the strangest girls in the class. He’s already going out with someone else, so he says no. Unfortunately, that strange girl doesn’t like taking “no” for an answer.

While it may start out quite slowly, The Loved Ones quickly turns into something sick, twisted and surprisingly gruesome. Have you ever thought about someone using a hammer to drive knives through your feet and into the floorboards? What other secrets does this demented family hide?

Almost as campy as a movie like Cabin in the Woods, The Loved Ones leaves some unresolved holes in the plot, but I’m willing to look past those for a movie that was just… weird. I can still hear “Not Pretty Enough” by Kasey Chambers in my head.