Christmas-themed horror stories are perennially popular so allow me to offer up a brief but terrifying vignette along those lines. Picture, if you will, an ordinary adult-type person who has decided to spend a couple of hours over the holidays taking in a new movie and is going over the listings to see what is playing at the local multiplex. Raves for the lovely “Licorice Pizza” certainly make that one seem enticing, for example, as does the combination of William Shakespeare, Joel Coen, Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand in “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” They might be curious to see how “The Matrix Resurrections” reboots that franchise for a new age and if their tastes are a bit on the racier side, “Red Rocket” might be just the thing. So many films out there to choose from but after a few moments of idle speculation, our hapless protagonist is jolted back to their hellish reality and ends up uttering the terrifying words that I fear will be said far too often this season—“Okay kids, let’s go see “Sing 2.””
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I suppose I should confess up front that I do not recall anything about the original 2016 film, except for a moment in which a cartoon pig voiced by Reese Witherspoon briefly sings Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” This means that either I never actually saw the original or I did and, aside from that one bit, managed to completely escape my mind in the interim. If it is the former, there is nothing in this hacky and brutally bland piece of product that makes me feel as if I missed anything. If it is the latter, then I am both relieved and hopeful that it too will quickly fade from my memory as well.
Having saved his local theater through a singing competition that brought together a wide variety of characters, each one with a dream and an easily recognizable recent Top 40 hit in their heart (okay, I took a quick peek at Wikipedia), ambitious koala theatrical impresario Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) now has an even bigger dream for himself and his troupe of performers—pigs Rosita (Witherspoon) and Gunter (Nick Kroll), porcupine rocker Ash (Scarlett Johansson), shy gorilla Johnny (Taron Egerton) and shyer elephant Meena (Tori Kelly)—and that is to go to the Vegas-like city of Red Shore and put on a new show at the lavish entertainment complex run by hotel tycoon Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale). Although the actual audition is a bust, Buster convinces Jimmy to finance an elaborate sci-fi stage musical entitled “Out of this World” based solely on his promise to lure legendary rock star lion Clay Calloway (Bono … yes, Bono) out of 15 years of seclusion to make an appearance.
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