“Wonder Woman” (PG-13)
More than 75 years after she debuted in the DC’s comic book universe, the Amazon Warrior Princess has finally gotten her due with Wonder Woman, a wonderful origins movie that marks the first live-action appearance of the character since Lynda Carter’s classic TV series that ran from 1975-79.
Marking the first solo movie for the Wonder Woman/Diana Prince (a stunning Gal Gadot) after she made her scene-stealing debut in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” in 2016, the movie takes us back to World War I, where an American spy pilot, Steve Trevor (the always great Chris Pine) crash lands in the ocean near the secret island paradise where Diana, Princess of Themyscira, was raised, and by happenstance drags her and her fellow warriors into the conflict.
Leaving behind her home to rid the world of the evil force she believes is responsible for the war, Diana finds adjusting to the outside world is a bit harder than she could have imagined — that is, until she discovers her true identity and destiny. Full of humor, heart and action, “Wonder Woman” is a must-see.
Lammometer: 8.5 (out of 10)
Hear Tim’s review of “Wonder Woman” and “Captain Underpants” with Tom Barnard on KQRS.
“Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” (PG)
A different kind of superhero saves the day (or at least, tries) in “Captain Underpants: The Epic First Movie,” the first (obviously) of hopefully many movies based on the best-selling illustrated children’s book series by Dav Pilkey. Hilarious and full of heart, it’s easily the best animated movie of the year so far.
Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch bring glee to the voices of George and Harold, a pair of practical joking grade-schoolers who get revenge on their ultra-strict principal, Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms), who rules the school with an iron fist. Accidentally hypnotizing Mr. Krupp with a cereal box “Hypo Ring,” George and Harold convince Krupp he’s a dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants, who wears only underwear and a cape made of office drapery. Complicating manners is a Mr. P. (Nick Kroll, who steals the show), as a villainous science teacher who is onto George and Harold’s scheme.
“Captain Underpants” separates itself from most animated movies by relying on its already clever origins material (which is expanded here and there), instead of giving into Hollywood convention and employing pop culture references, sly jokes that only adults would get, and a hip soundtrack in a vain attempt to help tell the story. It’s a refreshing take in any genre, where story matters first — and in this case “Captain Underpants” is ultimately a great story about friendship.
Lammometer: 8.5 (out of 10)
Watch Tim’s review of “Wonder Woman” and “Captain Underpants” with Adrienne Broadus on KARE 11.
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“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” (PG-13)
The ship has definitely sailed on Johnny Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise with “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” the fifth and hopefully last film in series. There’s no question that the first two films in the series — “The Curse of the Black Pearl” and “Dead Man’s Chest” were entertaining, but Depp’s schtick as the drunken, bumbling Capt. Jack Sparrow became old hat after that.
Basically “Dead Men Tell No Tales” feels like all the films that proceed it, a mishmash of high seas action and slapstick comedy of Depp’s Capt. Jack, who you just know will weasel his way out of any situation he encounters no matter how perilous it is. There’s no question the special effects are spectacular — especially with the crafting of the ghostly nemesis, Capt. Salazar (the always great Javier Bardem), who seeks revenge on Capt. Jack, but the story is dull and predictable, and like the previous films, feels overlong.
While the story brings to a conclusion a subplot from a couple of films ago, there’s nothing really new to talk about here, with the exception of a wonderfully inventive scene involving Capt. Jack’s head and neck on a guillotine.
Lammometer: 4.5 (out of 10)
Hear Tim’s review of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and “Baywatch” with Tom Barnard on KQRS.
After a string of hits including “Moana” and “The Fate of the Furious” star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sinks big-time with “Baywatch,” a hapless remake of David Hasselhoff’s syndicated TV smash from the 1990s.
The plot is paper-thin: Johnson leads a group of lifeguards who are trying to keep a drug-dealing villain from taking over the beautiful coastline they protect, even though none have any real law enforcement experience. Johnson assumes Hasselhoff’s role of Mitch Buchanon, who along with fellow lifeguards C.J. Parker (Kelly Rohrback) and Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera) take on three new recruits for the summer, including Matt Brody (a very ripped Zac Efron), a Ryan Lochte-like lunkhead whose fallen out of favor with the Olympics because of his wild ways.
Baywatch is a failure on all fronts. The acting is terrible, the dialogue is uninspired (how many times can Johnson rib Efron about looking like a member of a boy band? Apparently not enough), and unlike the big-screen remake of the very self-aware 21 Jump Street, the cast mostly plays it straight like Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson and company did in the TV series.
In fact, the only time the film is funny is when Hasselhoff appears as himself in moments of self-parody, like he’s the only person in the entire movie that gets the joke that its OK to poke fun at yourself. The problem is, the actor’s two scenes are about a minute apiece. The rest of the movie is an embarrassment.
Lammometer: 2.5 (out of 10)
Watch Tim’s review of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and “Baywatch” with Adrienne Broadus on KARE 11.