Slumberland is a bland fantasy adventure.

A young girl discovers a secret map to the dreamworld of Slumberland, and with the help of an eccentric outlaw, she traverses dreams and flees nightmares, with the hope that she will be able to see her late father again.

I wish there was a lot to say about Slumberland a $150 million dollar budget Netflix original directed by Francis Lawrence, but to be quite honest there really isn’t. The movie at least looks a bit more appealing to the eye when compared to Red Notice and The Gray Man, but that’s mainly due to the fantasy elements here that actually do give the movie some sort of life. Jason Momoa puts on a very different type of performance here that is genuinely charming, Marlow Barkley also gives a charming performance as well, for a Netflix child actor performance this is definitely one of the better ones. The main issue comes in story wise where it plays out way too similarly to a lot of fantasy movies, the whole “person discovers a new land full of creatures” has been done far better before, what’s very unfortunate here is Francis Lawrence’s direction is just nonexistent here, maybe it’s because this is entirely different from what he usually does but a lot of what makes his direction interesting is just not here. The raw emotions in Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 2, the strong chemistry in Water For Elephants, the sense of building a strong atmosphere in I Am Legend and so on. It often times looks like the movie is going to try and do something interesting but quickly goes back to playing it way too safe. Every now and then you get some charming moments with Momoa and Barkley but otherwise this is very forgettable and definitely overstays it’s welcome with a nearly 2 hour running time. Overall despite my many complaints Slumberland isn’t exactly terrible it’s rather forgettable and just sits there as another addition to the forgettable Netflix movie pile.

Slumberland is available on Netflix.

5/10 C

Disenchanted loses the magic of the first film.

Years after her happily ever after, Giselle, Robert and Morgan move to a new community and Andalasia and the real world are thrown off-balance.

Disenchanted is the long awaited sequel of 2007’s Enchanted a film that quickly gained a relatively big following including myself. Enchanted was genuinely really fun film filled with a lot of heart, passion, character and had a huge identity to it. It’s been one of those films where people have wanted a sequel for a long time, Disenchanted is the end result and they completely dropped the ball here. What’s sad is there just isn’t a whole lot to say about Disenchanted as it’s a forgettable movie that completely takes out all of the magic that made Enchanted so great. The positives come from Amy Adams who returns as Giselle, she’s clearly putting her heart into it and actually sings a lot of the songs very well, Idina Menzel is actually not bad here either a song she sings towards the end “Love Power” is actually quite great and beautifully sung. James Marsden who just isn’t given enough screen time here is truly charming and actually gives all the moments that made me laugh, you can’t help but smile whenever he’s on screen which is sadly just not enough. Everything else here is about as generic as you can get between a very typical disgruntled child or teen storyline that ends with learning a lesson, which really has the energy of something from the Disney channel in the early 90s it’s truly a huge missed opportunity to look at Morgan’s (played by Gabriella Baldacchino) character and her relationship with her mother Giselle in a way that could connect with the audience. But they just settled with the most generic way possible that is way too forgettable, Disenchanted is a frustrating movie because this is most definitely something you can make into a great movie, but the forgettable script, a lot of the basic original songs and the storytelling is severely lacking and loses the magic of the original.

Disenchanted is available on Disney+

4/10 D+

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a entertaining yet strong character piece film about loss.

Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with Nakia and Everett Ross to forge a new path for their beloved kingdom.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the last film of phase 4 of the MCU (the last part of phase four is the Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special which is releasing next Friday) and it was a very strong way to close a rather very mixed phases. The first five minutes of the film alone is one of the best scenes Marvel has ever done, they really worked Chadwick Boseman’s passing into the story very respectfully and carefully which in the end gives plenty of incredibly strong moments. There’s a lot of character bits here this time around sort of like how Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 was more of a character piece, here it’s quite similar only that the themes are much more different. The themes here is loss and trying to cope with losing the people you looked up to most, the performances here absolutely compliment this well. Letitia Wright who plays Shuri is a very strong lead who really does a great job with her performance, Angela Bassett who plays Ramonda absolutely nails it she gives one of the best performances of the year and truly steals every single scene she’s in. Bassett has always been a powerhouse performer who really puts in so much passion in so many roles she’s in and here is no exception, Lupita Nyong’o who plays Nakia is really strong here as well, it’s great to see her character again after being absent for awhile and it’s also seeing that she gets a lot to do in the film. There’s tons of powerful moments with her character and gives a ton of development that’s quite investing. Finally there’s Tenoch Huerta who plays the villain of the film Namor, his character is refreshing to mainly due to actually having a well developed motive. He’s not the stereotypical “I want to take over the world” type of villain he actually has a short but very well done flashback scene that really develops his character and why he is doing certain actions and what’s the goal. All of this really blends together well that ends up creating some really emotional moments especially during the beginning and the very end of the film, the film does have it’s hiccups mostly with Martin Freeman and Julia Louis-Dreyfus who are just sort of there, they do a decent enough job with what they are given but it’s really not anything special. The tone is drastically different from the other scenes and has the energy of a CSI episode when it comes to the scenes with the two. Dominique Thorne who plays Ironheart is decent enough here and has pretty okay introduction, but it’s not anything particularly great either. Unfortunately Ironheart isn’t all that interesting here and ends up being there mostly for comedic relief, however when Thorne is given some strong moments she does quite a great job. Lastly there’s plenty of action scenes that are really strong one in particular that really steals the show, the major thing that really separates Black Panther: Wakanda Forever from a lot of the other phase four projects is that there were actual themes and high stakes for the characters, there was a sense of loss where anything could happen. It was an investing film that actually studied the characters and gave them their flaws rather than just not show any at all. Overall Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is by far one of the better parts of phase four, outside of the few hiccups as mentioned this is a entertaining yet character moment filled film.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is currently in theaters.

8/10 B+

Pinocchio (2022)..completely misses the point of the original

A puppet is brought to life by a fairy, who assigns him to lead a virtuous life in order to become a real boy.

Pinocchio is the newest of the Disney Live Action Remakes and is by far one of the absolute worst ones, it’s truly baffling to me how badly they messed this up. The original Pinocchio is one of Disney’s absolute best films they have ever done, it’s a story that was both dark but also very charming as well. This remake however takes everything the original did perfectly and completely misses on what made it so well done, the only positive I can give here is Cynthia Ervio as The Blue Fairy and her performance of “When You Wish Upon A Star” she did a beautiful job and has a tremendous singing voice that captures the magic of the song. The rest of the movie is missing a key element that the original had a lot of…heart and magic, the original movie despite the dark nature of some of the story was also filled with so much heart in it that made the characters so lovable. In this movie Geppetto (Tom Hanks) and Pinocchio (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) have absolutely no connection between one another, which was a key part of the original movie. So that really defeats the purpose of the story the movie is trying to tell, the CGI is bafflingly cheap some of the movements from the characters are either delayed or just don’t match. Monstro was done horribly with this movie, which again brings this back to Geppetto and Pinocchio. Monstro was an important part of the original Pinocchio serving as bridge to Geppetto’s and Pinocchio’s chemistry, in this movie it is so poorly done and has no passion put into it at all. Which is the main issue here this movie has the biggest “we don’t care” attitude to it, nothing here other than Cynthia Ervio has no energy, heart or passion put into it. Which is exactly the problem with a lot of these remakes (outside of a few) they heavily rely on cheap nostalgia and don’t even do justice to the original movies, what’s unfortunate is this could have been decent, Robert Zemeckis who despite his last couple movies not exactly being that great. Is still a very talented filmmaker who’s given us tons of classics (Back To The Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Forrest Gump) I only have to assume that he wasn’t given the creative freedom because this a lifeless movie that is so horribly written is not the thing you think of when you think Robert Zemeckis.

Pinocchio is available on Disney+

1/10 F

Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie is a fun addition to the TMNT series.

The Turtles are put to the test when a mysterious stranger named Casey Jones arrives from the future to warn the mutant brothers of an impending invasion·of the most dangerous alien force in the galaxy the Krang.

Not going to spend too long talking about this one simply because I haven’t seen the series it’s based on which is Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it’s one of the many incarnations the TMNT franchise has had (side note I grew up with the 2003 version). I knew of this version but knew very little about it, for what the movie is it’s pretty fun and genuinely charming as well. It definitely has a bit more humor than some of the other incarnations but it’s not enough to take out of the movie, there’s some genuinely good bits between the turtles and how they care about each other plus their brotherhood. The animation is actually very well done, it takes time to get use to especially if you haven’t seen the series before but there’s a lot of attention to detail here that brings the movie itself together quite well. Krang as the villain was quite great it’s refreshing to see another TMNT movie that doesn’t have The Shredder as the main villain for a change (as much as I like him). The action scenes are very well done and the build up to the final battle is quite great and surprisingly touching as well, the final act is very satisfying as well. There’s a ton of action combined with some character moments that wrap up the film very nicely, overall Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a very solid movie, even if you aren’t a fan on the incarnation of the show it’s based on I still recommend checking it out especially if you are a TMNT fan.

Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie is available on Netflix.

7/10 B

The Sea Beast is a fantastic smooth sailing adventure.

The life of a legendary sea monster hunter is turned upside down when a young girl stows away on his ship.

The Sea Beast is directed by Chris Williams who partly directed Big Hero 6 and Bolt, Netflix animated films have a huge tendency to go in a lot of different ways much more of the time not very good. While The Sea Beast is pretty much a How To Train Your Dragon clone it still manages to create a beautiful picture and makes some of the elements it’s own, for starters the animation is bright, colorful and very well detailed it adds a lot to the characters world and really makes the sea itself huge. The characters surprisingly get a lot of development, there’s some really interesting dialogue that points to a lot of interesting themes that are used. The scale of the movie completely matches the concept of sea monsters, pirates and the sea itself, it’s a huge world with so much to look at on screen. The film makes the viewer’s eyes go on an adventure which is something that I wish a lot of other films could do, the voice acting from the cast mainly Karl Urban, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jarred Harris and Marianne Jean-Baptiste is truly fantastic and really dives deep into their respective characters. Overall The Sea Beast is definitely a film that is going to be overlooked, so highly recommend checking this one out!!

The Sea Beast is available on Netflix.

8/10 B+

Obi-Wan Kenobi is a decent series filled with enjoyable battles.

The Jedi Master contends with the consequences of his greatest defeat — the downfall and corruption of his one-time friend and apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is the newest Star Wars series that finished recently, the series takes place ten years after Revenge Of The Sith. We follow Obi-Wan Kenobi who’s went into hiding for awhile but is brought back up once a task to protect Princess Leia is given. I’ll start with what the series does right and the most obvious is the acting, everyone involved does a really solid job. Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan is once again brilliant, Vivien Lyra Blair as Princess Leia is actually pretty charming and captures some of the mannerisms that Leia would go on to have. Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader is fantastic and James Earl Jones doing his iconic voice for Vader is brilliant as ever, this series really makes Vader quite terrifying and shows just how intimidating he always has been as a villain. Lastly there’s Moses Ingram who does a solid job as Reva, the filming is quite nice combined with the atmosphere the film gives. If there’s a major thing the series lacked on is it doesn’t really feel complete, there’s some characters that could have easily gotten more development had it not been only 6 episodes. There’s definitely parts of the writing where they hint at the idea of diving a little deeper but never fully go through with it, the finale is definitely the standout as there is a very strong final battle that the series has been building up to. Some of the action scenes during the series are quite great, one notable one is Obi-Wan first meeting Darth Vader. That’s the one that truly made Vader terrifying, overall Obi-Wan Kenobi is not a bad series! It’s by far one of the better Star Wars TV series to come out and is pretty enjoyable for what it is.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is available on Disney+

7/10 B

Lightyear is a decent enough adventure that could have went further.

Legendary space ranger Buzz Lightyear embarks on an intergalactic adventure alongside ambitious recruits Izzy, Mo, Darby, and his robot companion, Sox.

Lightyear is Pixar’s newest film which the whole idea of the movie is it is about who the toy Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story films is based on. An idea that sadly doesn’t get fully utilized, but let’s go over the positives first. First off the animation is stunning, it compliments the whole space theme really well and is the very definition of having a sci-fi feel. The voice acting all around was really strong as well, particularly Keke Palmer, Chris Evans, Uzo Aduba and Peter Sohn. Speaking of which Sox the cat is hands down the best animal sidekick in recent memory, usually I’m not a fan of the usual modern Disney sidekick who’s just there for selling toys and making unfunny jokes. But Sox was a genuinely fun character who had a lot of charm and feels a lot more than a dollar sign, the first half of Lightyear felt a lot like what you would expect from Pixar…the first 30 minutes to be exact. There’s some genuinely touching scenes with a lot of emotions mixed in that really paint an interesting story about blaming yourself and trying to do everything you can to fix a situation. The major problem with Lightyear is what follows after that, the movie quickly becomes a very generic sci-fi story filled to the brim with cliches. A huge part of this is what they decided to do with Zurg, which was a very puzzling choice that really did not add much to the movie. There are some decent bits here and there in the second half, but it’s not enough to put this movie back to where it was in the first half. It’s a lot of sci-fi elements that don’t blend together very well. Overall Lightyear is definitely not a bad film (far from it) it just could have taken it’s ideas from the first half of the movie and pushed them even further.

Lightyear is now in theaters.

7/10 B

Jurassic World: Dominion is another weak installment in the Jurassic Park franchise.

Four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar, dinosaurs now live and hunt alongside humans all over the world. This fragile balance will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history’s most fearsome creatures.

Jurassic World: Dominion is the final film of the Jurassic World trilogy, while Dominion is definitely better than Fallen Kingdom by a lot that is really not saying much at all. The few positives come from DeWanda Wise and Jeff Goldblum (who’s actually a main character unlike in Fallen Kingdom) who try to give this movie as much life as possible, lastly there’s a few fun chase/action scenes that are serviceable but nothing to write home about. The rest of the movie however is one gigantic mess that is a very weak way to close the trilogy, the performances from everyone other than Wise and Goldblum are either terrible or soulless, it’s nice to see Laura Dern and Sam Neil return but they are restricted to a very weak script that becomes a gigantic mess and strangely don’t feel as important as they did in the first Jurassic Park. The “villain” is played by Campbell Scott who is honestly very forgettable, the villain serves little to no purpose outside of being included for the sake of being included. We know very little about him and the I guess twist of him being the villain is so predictable that the movie doesn’t even try to hide it from the first scene he’s introduced. The performance Scott is terrible and way too over the top, I’m not exactly sure what they were trying to go for here but whatever it was it did not work. Another huge issue with Dominion is that it’s an unfocused mess that can’t decide what it wants to be, does it want to actually be about the dinosaurs or does it want to be about these collection of characters rescuing Maisie? Which leads into my next point the movie is very formulaic as in it basically runs down like this…chase scene, dialogue, chase scene, dialogue until the movie decides to wrap things up and end. The writing combined with it being formulaic is incredibly tiring and becomes way too repetitive for it’s own good, overall Jurassic World: Dominion is a very weak movie to close the trilogy with. Between being way too unfocused and forgettable there’s nothing here that comes together and is just another addition to the terrible sequels of this series.

Jurassic World Dominion is currently in theaters!

3/10 D-

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is a decent Who Framed Roger Rabbit clone.

Chip and Dale live amongst cartoons and humans in modern-day Los Angeles, but their lives are quite different now. When a former cast mate mysteriously disappears, Chip and Dale must repair their broken friendship and save their friend.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is surprisingly not too bad, what could have been an unfunny IP and cameo fest turns out to be a movie that has some pretty decent jokes and solid voice work. John Mulaney and Andy Samberg work very well together and truly hit it out of the park with some of the delivery from the jokes, J.K. Simmons is also pretty entertaining as well. The cameos are luckily very limited and the movie itself doesn’t spend too much time on them, plus they don’t over stay their welcome. What does stop this movie from being anything really strong however is mostly the villain Sweet Pete and third act, if you are aware of Bobby Driscoll’s story (actor who voiced Peter Pan in the original) Sweet Pete’s backstory has some very noticeable similarities, which lead to a controversy. While it may seem not a huge deal at first the more you read into Driscoll’s story and how he was treated the more uncomfortable this decision really becomes. Even if you took away this controversy Sweet Pete as a character still falls flat, he’s a very run of the mill villain to the point where his henchmen are actually more interesting. Then there’s the third act which while it’s not exactly bad it’s just not anything noteworthy and does feel like the movie ran out of steam. Overall Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is a decent movie that definitely could have been a lot better had their been some better decisions and a stronger third act.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is available on Disney+

6/10 C+