Hotel Transylvania 2 (Just in time for Jan. 12 Blue Ray DVD Release)

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky        

Lead Actors: Adam Sandler,
 Andy Samberg,
 Selena Gomez,
 Kevin James, Steve Buscemi,
David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Fran Drescher,  Megan Mullally, Dana Carvey, Mel Brooks, Chris Kattan, Jon Lovittz

Producer: Allen Covert

Plot Synopsis: Dracula, played by Adam Sandler, is now a successful Hotel Owner and Manager in Transylvania. He has employed all of his old friends at the hotel, including The Blob, Frankenstein, Werewolf, The Invisible Man and many, many more.

Much to Dracula's chagrin, he has also had to employ Jonathan, his dopey new son-in-law from Santa Cruz, played by Andy Samberg.

Jonathan has an easy, vague marketing/human resources job under Dracula at the Hotel. He continues to recommend humanizing the hotel a little more, and Dracula keeps turning him down. 

The big news in this second installment is that Dracula's daughter, Mavis, played by Selena Gomez, is pregnant.

This excites everyone. It also creates tension because Dracula is desperate to extend his family lineage, and it appears as if Jonathon and Mavis' child may be his only opportunity to do this.

When the child comes out a boy, this is good...but Dracula wants more. He wants to know if the child will be a human who turns into  a vampire, or just a human. At first, it appears as if the child is simply a nice little boy.

Dracula, restless, takes matters into his own hands by trying to scare the fangs out of the boy. This, he says, is a trick his father Vlad used on him.

He gathers all of his cronies: Wolf Man, Zombie, The Blob, The Invisible Man and they embark on a road trip. The purpose of the road trip is to help the boy become his true monster self. Even children viewers can see that the road trip doubles as a way for these monsters to rediscover their youthful, monster selves. 

Dracula et al romp through the greater Transylvania area, and visit all their old "haunts" and try to show the boy the "virtues" of being part monster by revisiting their own ghoulish pasts.  

Who Would Like it and Why
Sandler fan and  also fans of Robert Smigel. This was co-written by Robert Smigel and Adam Sandler, who first teamed together so many years ago at Saturday Night Live - Smigel head writer there and Adam Sandler an actor. Smigel was a mentor to Sandler when Sandler first worked for the show. Later, Smigel went on to head write for Conan O'Brien. One of Smigel's more popular creations while at Saturday Night Live was the cartoon, "Ace and Gary, the ambiguously gay duo".

Sander and Smigel find the  humor both for children and adults, in Transylvania. The animation was good and showed the monster's soft and gooey sides.

Who Might not Like it and Why
In the past, many have found Adam Sandler
 obnoxious as the lead in his own movies. He has out-aged his good looks and let's face it, his acting chops were never that great in the first place. Here he does an OK job as the voice of Dracula, the doting and overbearing father, and now grandfather.

Highlights/Top Scenes
Dracula thinks that he will get his grandchild to fly for the first time by throwing him off a very high up structure. 

He throws the kid off a very high building, and the kid doesn't show any signs of flying so Dracula has to dive down and catch the child who is hurling towards earth. This is all caught on several smart phones and a social media mash-up is made from the incident.

All of Dracula's monster friends are overweight and past their prime, and about as scary as Teddy Bears. The werewolf has literally exchanged his tattered clothing to a white shirt, tie and pants. He also has a littler of 300 puppies who have worn him thin. He walks with a hunched back and a slightly resigned way about him.

The blob proves to be critical in the plot as he can carry anything inside of him and also can be blown up into a giant flying raft.

Gomez is great as Mavis, the still youthful and exuberant yet careful and doting mother.

Three Mike and Ikes.

The Defiant Ones

Director: Stanley Kramer

Lead Actors: Sydney Poitier, Tony Curtis, Theodore Bikel

Producer: Stanley Kramer

Plot Synopsis: The movie opens, as all great movies do, on a rainy night. Two men are driving a prison work crew back to prison. They sit in the front of the bus, trying desperately to make out the road!  Then we hear singing in the back. The singing is coming from Noah Cullen, played by Sydney Poitier, a black prisoner who is on the chain gang.

We find that he is chained to John "Joker" Jackson, a white prisoner. 

What happens next is a crash in the rain. By the time the authorities arrive at the crash site, we realize that some on the chain gang died, some are being taken to the hospital, but that Noah and John escaped.

As a hunting party is organized, the warden tells the Sheriff over the phone not to worry, because the two will "kill each other" before anyone finds them.

Then the camera cuts to Cullen and Jackson running for their dear life with a five foot chain connecting them, attached to their wrists with handcuffs on each of their hands.

The warden is right: during their daring escape, they almost kill each other more than once. Then other people try to kill them. Then the elements try to kill them. Simply put: Noah and John are up against the greatest of odds.

Their biggest challenge ends up being the centuries of social programming that tells them whites aren't supposed to get along with blacks.

Who Would Like it and Why
People who like movies about people. This movie centers not only on the two prisoners and the humanity they might or might not have hidden under their rough exterior, but also the Sheriff Max Muller whose job it is to find them. 

As the two make their way through the countryside, we meet a bloodthirsty mob, a compassionate former convict, a young boy and a very lonely widow.

We get to  see these people through the eyes of the prisoners for a short time and how they act under extraordinary circumstances.

Sydney Poitier Fans
Sydney Poitier is a dynamic, good-looking actor who was doing his thing before Denzel Washington had even left his mom's house. He always said he would never play a character demeaning to his people, and he safeguards that oath here in this movie. Poitier gives Cullen a quiet dignity, and reveals a bit of  soul underneath the terrible prison garb.

Tony Curtis Fans

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Image result for Tony Curtis

The father of Jamie Lee Curtis. He displays great range in this character study movie.
Image result for Jamie Lee Curtis

Who Might not Like it and Why
Well, this movie is in black and white, and it moves a little slower. But it is solid!

Highlights/Top Scenes
The Posse that Sheriff Muller assembles has some pretty interesting yet blood thirsty characters in it. There is the man in charge of the dogs who is more protective of his K9s then he is the prisoner. Then there is the temporarily deputized hillbilly who insists on playing rock and roll music on the radio during the entire chase.

Bikel's relaxed pace as the Sheriff, then his mounting intensity as he realizes his job might be on the line if he doesn't catch these men is interesting to watch as well.

Three Mike and Ikes.