Families Will Not Go Wrong Watching ‘Ron’s Gone Wrong’ At Least Once

Courtesy: 20th Century Studios/Locksmith Animation

20th Century Studios’ brand new family friendly CG flick, Ron’s Gone Wrong is a surprisingly entertaining presentation from the Disney-owned movie.  The nearly two-hour movie (more specifically, it runs approximately one hour, 47 minutes) surprises in part because of its story.  The two-pronged story will be examined shortly.  By relation, the story’s pacing is also of import to the movie’s success and will be examined a little later.  The cast’s acting also plays into the movie’s success.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie.  All things considered, they make Ron’s Gone Wrong a movie that surprisingly, audiences will not go wrong watching.

20th Century Studios’ brand new family friendly CG-flick, Ron’s Gone Wrong is a surprisingly successful new offering from the studio formerly known as 20th Century Fox.  The studio’s name was changed in 2020 after it was bought by Disney the same year.  The movie’s surprising success comes in large part through its story.  The story is a two-part presentation that will appeal to younger and older viewers alike.  One half of the story is a clear indictment of big tech, its impact on young people’s mental health, and the unscrupulous measures that big tech will take to exploit those noted users.  The story’s other half centers on the all-too-important message of the importance of friendship and its related topics.  The two halves weave together seamlessly throughout the movie, and together with the pacing (which again, will be discussed a little later) make the story overall fully engaging and entertaining.  The overarching discussion on the invasive nature of social media and its negative impact on young people’s mental health is timeless.  This will remain a concern until such time as young people can pull themselves away from social media and its addictive clutches.  To that end, the story likely will not earn an Oscar®, but will remain timely, making it relatable for generations of audiences.  The movie’s writers clearly went after Apple, Facebook, and so much other big tech and social media in delivering this message.  The companies are not named, but rather spoofed so to speak, through the use of the company, “Bubble” and its antagonistic boss, Andrew.  Andrew is clearly a lifting of Steve Jobs while Marc Weidell is clearly an allusion to Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg.

The connected story about friendship ties directly into the indictment of big tech and social media as lead character Barney (Jack Dylan Grazer – It, Luca, Shazam) finds himself the only student in his middle school – Nonsuch Middle School – without a so-called B*Bot.  The B*bot, is a digital friend that knows everything about its user, and uses that information to help young people find new friends.  Marc (Justice Smith – Paper Towns, The Get Down, Jurassic WorldFallen Kingdom) even called the tech the “perfect friend” right in the story’s opening scene.  That immediate message lets people know that one of the key messages in this story is that friends are anything but perfect, but rather perfect in being imperfect.  Barney learns that invaluable lesson when his dad, Graham (Ed Helms – The Office, Vacation, The Hangover) gets Barney his own B-bot (albeit illegally).  In learning its serial number, Barney shortens the bot’s name to just Ron.  Ron is voiced here by Zach Galifianakis (Due Date, The Hangover, The Lego Batman Movie).  His work here is some of his best, and that is actually saying something considering the dumbed down performances that he has presented in the noted movies and others.  It will be discussed later.  Getting back on the subject at hand, Barney and Ron eventually develop a real friendship because Ron is not like all of the other B-bots out there.  What develops will immediately ring a bell with those familiar with the 1986 movie, Short Circuit and its sequel, which came only two years later.  That buddy comedy centered on a robot that developed sentience and only wanted to protect and befriend people.  The good thing here is that this story element does not attempt to just simply rip off said movies, even despite the clear comparison.  What audiences eventually get here is that we should not let tech dominate our lives to the point that we are relying on it to make decisions for us.  We should not rely on it so much that it is doing everything for us, because we know better than technology who we are and what and who we like.  So yes, between this overarching message and that of the almost criminal nature of big tech, the overall story here will remain relevant for years to come.  It also boasts its own share of heart along the way, too.  It makes the story reason enough for audiences to give this movie a chance.

As much as the story does for Ron’s Gone Wrong in terms of its success, it is just one part of what makes the movie so surprisingly positive.  The story’s pacing also plays into its success.  Reminder, the movie’s run time is approximately one hour, 47 minutes.  That is actually a long run time for a family friendly flick.  Thankfully even being as long as the story is and with so much going on, the pacing remains solid.  This is the case even in the story’s final act in which it seems like the writers – Peter Baymham and Sarah Smith – seem to have had trouble deciding how to end the story.  The action and overall content is solid enough that the story keeps moving at a relatively solid pace throughout.  The result is that the pacing ensures the engagement and entertainment of younger viewers just as much as their older counterparts.  It makes the movie’s overall presentation that much more surprising in its appeal.  The cast’s work joins with the story and its pacing to round out the movie’s most important items.

The work put in by the movie’s cast adds a certain amount of heart to the presentation that make the movie that much more appealing.  The noted heart that is presented comes in part through the performance of star Zach Galifianakis.  As noted, Galifianakis has starred in plenty of less than memorable movies during his career.  His performances therein are just as forgettable.  They make him seem like he lacked any real credibility as an actor, all things considered.  However in this case, his performance as the imperfect perfect friend Ron is so subtle.  That subtlety makes Ron so loveable to viewers of all ages.  It makes Ron such a loveable character in his innocence.  Grazer, by relation, is just as talented as he brings Barney to life.  The way in which he handles Barney’s emotional and personal growth as he navigates his new middle school life and the changes from his former friends turned selfish youths makes Barney a fully sympathetic character.  Those friends – Rich (Ricardo Hurtado – School of Rock, The Goldbergs, Country Comfort) and Savannah (Keylie Cantrall – Just Roll With It, Gabby Duran & The Unsittables) – are among those who fall victim to the addictive nature of the B*bots and big tech.  It makes their revelation about who and what they had become late in the story somewhat unbelievable.  That is not to say that Hurtado and Cantrall did a bad job in their roles.  Rather they did a good job overall.  It is just that at that moment, it is difficult to empathize or even sympathize with them for what Savannah acknowledges they caused.  Audiences will appreciate the pair’s work as they become so addicted to their own fleeting fame, considering that is how so many real world youths (and people in general) have become thanks to YouTube channels, Facebook, Instagram, and social media in general.  It really is an accurate reflection of society.  But again, there is something in that one noted moment that makes their remorse lacking in real emotion. 

On yet another note, Olivia Colman (Hot Fuzz, The Lobster, Tyrannosaur) deserves her own credit in her portrayal of Barney’s grandmother, Donka.  Donka is only a supporting character, but Colman makes full use of her time in the role.  Yes, that includes a little bit of adult humor, but in reality, what kids’ show does not/has not incorporate/incorporated some adult humor for the parents/guardians of its young audiences to enjoy?  The scene involving the meat cleaver and the flashback to Barney’s sixth birthday party give Colman plenty of opportunity to create laughs.  She succeeds in her acting in each case, too.  Even in a subtle moment, such as when she pretends to be a cleaner to help Barney and company break into Bubble’s headquarters (again, yes, that is a direct spoof of Apple), she shines.  Colman’s overall performance makes for a great introduction for viewers that are less familiar with her and her body of work.  It is just one more way in which the cast’s work shows itself so important to the overall presentation of Ron’s Gone Wrong.  When the overall work of the cast is considered along with the story and its pacing, the whole comes together to make the movie a surprisingly entertaining new offering for audiences of all ages.

20th Century Studios’ latest family friendly CG flick, Ron’s Gone Wrong is a surprisingly entertaining presentation for the whole family.  The movie’s success comes in large part through its story.  The story immediately lends itself to comparison to the timeless 1986 buddy comedy Short Circuit but still boats its own identity separate from that movie despite the clear comparison.  The balance of its two-part story line is handled expertly throughout and offers elements that will appeal to grown-ups and younger viewers alike.  Older viewers will appreciate the commentary about the near criminal nature of big tech (including social media) while the messages about friendship tied into the overall story are certain to resonate with younger viewers.  The overall story’s pacing works with the story to add to the movie’s appeal.  That is because it ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment throughout.  This is even despite its nearly two-hour run time.  The cast’s work voicing the characters puts the final touch to the presentation.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the movie.  All things considered, they make Ron’s Gone Wrong a right choice for the whole family.

Ron’s Gone Wrong is in theaters now.  More information on this and other titles from 20th Century Studios is available at:

Website: https://20thcenturystudios.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/20thCenturyStudios

Twitter: https://twitter.com/20thcentury

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

UPHE Announces Release Date, Specs For Steve Jobs Biopic

Courtesy:  Universal Pictures

Courtesy: Universal Pictures

Steve Jobs is one of the most polarizing figures in the tech world. Even in death his name continues to evoke any number of emotions and discussions. So it should come as no surprise that he and his legacy would eventually be tackled in biopic form. Early this fall Universal Pictures took on the task of presenting Jobs’ life and legacy in the major motion picture Steve Jobs. Now this winter the eponymously-titled movie will see home release on Digital HD and Blu-ray.

Steve Jobs will be released on digital HD on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 and on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD, and VOD Tuesday, February 16th. The movie, directed by Academy Award-winner Danny Boyle and written by fellow Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin, presents Jobs just ahead of the launch of three of Apple’s most iconic products. Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds, 12 Years A Slave, Prometheus) leads the star-studded cast as Jobs. He is joined by Kate Winslet (Titanic, Finding Neverland, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Seth Rogen (Green Hornet, The Interview, Pineapple Express), and Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom, Good Night and Good Luck, The Martian). The movie’s Blu-ray combo pack will include both a physical DVD copy and Ultraviolet HD copy and bonus material listed below. The noted bonus material will also be included in the movie’s DVD presentation. Audiences can check out a trailer for Steve Jobs online now at http://uni.pictures/SteveJobsTrailer.

 

BLU-RAY(TM) AND DVD BONUS FEATURES:

  • Inside Jobs: The Making of Steve Jobs
  • Feature Commentary with Director Danny Boyle
  • Feature Commentary with Writer Aaron Sorkin and Editor Elliot Graham

 

More information on Steve Jobs is available online now at:

Website: http://www.stevejobsthefilm.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stevejobsfilm

Twitter: http://twitter.com/stevejobsfilm

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Wovenwar Impressive In Its First Week

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Good news for Wovenwar.

Wovenwar’s self-titled debut for Metal Blade Records has debuted at #36 on Billboard’s Top 200. The news is just as good for the album’s debut online and overseas. It peaked online in the #2 spot on iTunes’ rock chart and the top spot on the online music service’s metal chart in the album’s first week of release. Overseas, Wovenwar debuted at #41 on the German Top 100 Media Control album charts. These numbers come on the heels of the debut of the video for the band’s new single ‘All Rise.’ That video can be viewed now online at Wovenwar’s Metal Blade Records website, http://www.metalblade.com/wovenwar.

Wovenwar is currently in the midst of a European tour in support of its debut record. The band will be at the Pukkelpop Festival in Hasselt, Belgium this Friday. That show will be followed by a performance at the ELB Riot in Hamburg, DE Saturday and the X Rockfest in Herford, DE Sunday. The band’s current tour schedule is listed below.

WOVENWAR on tour:
European Tour
08/15 Hasselt, BE Pukkelpop Festival
08/16 Hamburg, DE ELB Riot
08/17 Herford, DE X RockFest
08/19 Berlin, DE Lido w/ Of Mice & Men
08/21 London, UK Barfly headliner
08/23 Reading, UK Reading Festival
08/24 Leeds, UK Leeds Festival
Tour w/ In Flames, and While She Sleeps
09/27 Krakow, PL Studio Club
09/28 Budapest, HU Barba Negra
09/29 Prague, CZ The Roxy
09/30 Hamburg, DE Grosse Freiheit
10/01 Esch-sur-Alzette, LU Rockhall
10/02 Milano, IT Live Club
10/03 Zürich, CH Komplex
10/04 Lausanne, CH Les Docks
10/05 Trezzo Sull’Adda, IT Live Club
10/07 Madrid, ES LA Rivierea
10/08 Barcelona, ES Sala Razzamatazz
10/09 Zaragoza, ES Zaragoza
10/10 Cenon, FR Le Rocher de Palmer
10/11 Clermont-Ferrand, FR La Cooperative De Mai
10/12 Paris, FR Le Bataclan
10/14 Strasbourg, FR La Laiterie
10/15 Brussels, BE AB H all
10/16 Manchester, UK The Ritz
10/17 Glasgow, UK 02 ABC
10/18 London, UK O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
10/20 Tilburg, NL 013
10/24 Frankfurt, DE Jahrhunderthalle
10/25 Kempten, DE Bix Box
10/26 Leipzig, DE Haus Auensee
10/27 Wien, AT Gasometer
10/29 Berlin, DE Columbiahalle
10/30 Ludwigsburg, DE Arena
10/31 Köln, DE Palladium
11/01 Bochum, DE Ruhr Congress
11/02 Copenhagen, DK Store Vega
11/04 Helsinki, FI Helsingin Jäähalli
11/06 Stockholm, SE Hovet
11/07 Oslo, NO Spektrum Arena Ans
11/08 Gothenburg, SE Scandinavium

More information on Wovenwar’s tour and all of the latest news and updates from the band is available online at http://www.wovenwar.com and http://www.facebook.com/wovenwar. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Indie Pop/R&B Artist Chay Releases New Single

Courtesy:  Fresh Tracks Marketing

Courtesy: Fresh Tracks Marketing

Indie pop/R&B artist Chay recently released his new single, ‘Eternity’ to the masses.

‘Eternity’ comes from Chay’s upcoming sophomore album El Abrazo, which is due out this Fall. Audiences can check out the song online now at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QeRp2Qf9Bo.  Chay wrote and co-wrote the lyrics for no fewer than twelve of the songs on his new album. He also sang both lead and background vocals and wrote the vocal arrangements for each of the album’s songs.

Audiences will be able to hear in Chay’s new album influences from major-name artists such as Patti LaBelle, Donnie Hathaway, Enrique Iglesias, Az, Tiwsta, Arcangel, and even Lil Kim. The album was produced by Rio Summers and others.

While audiences wait for the release of El Abrazo, they can download ‘Eternity’ now online via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/gw/album/eternity-single/id828061785. From there, audiences can get more information on Chay online at http://www.facebook.com/chay.is.life. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Honour Crest’s New EP Will Impress Industrial Rock Audiences

Courtesy: Indianola Records

Honour Crest’s new full length release, Metrics is a work that established fans of this band will likely enjoy.  The Virginia Beach, VA based band continues its tradition of melding electronics and heavier metalcore sounds to make a sound similar to that of Fear Factory, Spineshank, and Crossbreed.  One of the best examples of the band’s abilities on this release is in its new single, ‘Horcrux.’  Not only does it impress with its melding of electronic elements and its more metal side, but lyrically, it breaks the mold of the standard relationship based songs.  Front man Lucas Borza writes in this song, “We cannot give in/No matter what they will tell us/Our hearts were made to withstand/We cannot give in/No matter what/They will test us/and push us/To the very edge/We cannot give in.”  It’s a very empowering song that will appeal not only to younger listeners, but even to older audiences as there will always be those who will test us and push us to the edge, just as the song’s chorus notes.  The combination of this song’s lyrics and music makes it easily one of the best tracks on this release.

The band impresses just as much on the album’s opener, ‘Flux.’  Again, it carries a theme of personal strength mixed with a balance of electronics and harder edged metalcore sounds.  Borza writes in this song, “Stop/Hold your ground/Our enemies can never/Breach these walls/I persevere/In a place that has no cover.”  Again, there is that sense of self assurance and empowerment. That positive message, mixed with the musical backing of the song will make it another fan favorite.

Metrics boasts even more interesting tracks than just this pair.  For example, the pairing of ‘Interlude’, which comes in at just under a minute and a half, and ‘Search and Seizure’ sound like they could have easily fit onto the soundtrack to Disney’s Tron Legacy.  Forget the lyrical content.  The musical side of this combination makes for another high point to this EP.  Metrics is available now in stores and online.  It can be downloaded via iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/metrics/id564027702.  Fans will also get the chance to hear the band’s music live as it is touring in support of the new release.  The band will be performing in Richmond, VA today, and then follow that with a home town show tomorrow in Virginia Beach.  The band will also be in Raleigh, North Carolina for its NC based fans on Sunday, November 4th.Fans can get a full tour listing and all the latest from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/honourcrest

To get the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.