Night At The Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again is a huge step down from its predecessors.

Nick Daley hesitates becoming a museum nightwatchman and Kahmunrah returns to conquer the world.

I’m not going to pretend that the Night At The Museum movies were masterpieces, but the thing with those movies is they were genuinely a lot of fun and had so much charm to them. But I guess this series much like The Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series is getting the soulless animated movie treatment, Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again is a sequel to the last movie (even though the series wrapped up actually pretty nicely but oh well) and any of the charm the live action movies had are completely absent here. What made Night at the Museum interesting in the first place was seeing the wax figures, animals, dinosaurs and others come to life in live action, trying to execute that in 2D animation completely takes that charm and excitement factor away. It’s worth noting that this is the first 2D animated film to be released under Disney since Winnie The Pooh. I love 2D animation and have nothing against it but the animation is just not good here, often times it comes off more like a rejected pilot from the early 2000s and less like something that was actually worked on and released. The voice cast just doesn’t have the magic that the cast from the other movies had, while nobody does a bad job here and they are definitely trying their hardest. There just isn’t anything memorable about the characters in this one. Combine that with a plot that’s another generic “evil villain wants to take over the world” plot and you have yourself a very forgettable movie that a lot of people will just say “oh hey that released” and then never talk about it again.

Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again Is available on Disney+

2/10 F

Streaming Reviews: it’s A Wonderful Binge and Something From Tiffany’s

Many years after their first Binge, Hags, Andrew, Sarah, and Kimi face the realities of adulthood as the annual Binge Day is moved to Christmas Eve. Amidst the chaos, Hags plans a proposal to Sarah, and Andrew deals with his rocky relationships.

The Binge: It’s A Wonderful Binge is a sequel to The Binge which came out in 2020, it was a terrible comedy that really tried to be like a sex comedy from the early 2000s except with drugs and alcohol. It’s A Wonderful Binge is basically the same idea but it’s Christmas themed….and it’s somehow better. There’s definitely better jokes this time around and I do think that the whole Christmas theme opens the door for some entertaining shenanigans to take place, Danny Trejo is pretty funny and the rest of the cast this time around are actually a lot better than they were in the first movie. With that said the movie kind of falls in the same sort of problems that a lot of sequels do and that’s being more less the same thing as their predecessor. As I said before this is just basically The Binge but Christmas, which honestly makes it more like a Christmas special rather than an sequel. Which isn’t entirely a bad thing it’s just something worth pointing out, it still has a lot of jokes that fall flat and once again doesn’t really use it’s own premise to it’s full potential. But at the very least you can say this time around that there was an attempt.

It’s A Wonderful Binge is available on Hulu.

4/10 D+

A woman gets up-ended when an engagement ring that was for someone else leads her to the person she’s meant to be with.

Something From Tiffany’s is what happens when you make an actual decent and far more competent Hallmark Christmas movie, while it’s very flawed and shares a lot of the exact same problems a lot of Christmas movies do. It’s mainly the cast who are truly charming that gives the movie the extra push it needs, Zoey Deutch is pretty decent here and really works her magic well here. She easily connects with everyone else and it’s the many bonds she has that really makes the movie work, Kendrick Sampson and Leah Jeffries in particular are very fun and give some genuine performances. As far as everything else goes it’s nothing too crazy, the writing is about how you would expect and the movie does play out in a very predictable way. But at the very least it has the charm going for it and there was some genuine love put into this one, definitely not the perfect Christmas movie but at the very least a decent one.

Something From Tiffany’s is available on Amazon Prime Video.

6/10 C+

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is bigger in scale and mystery than the first film.

Tech billionaire Miles Bron invites his friends for a getaway on his private Greek island. When someone turns up dead, Detective Benoit Blanc is put on the case.

When Knives Out came out in 2019 it was a huge hit, Rian Johnson took the whodunnit genre and did something completely new with, plus the cast just really made a lot of the film. Since then people immediately wanted a sequel and well here we are, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery in a lot of ways is better than the first film. For starters it’s definitely bigger in scale and you immediately get that impression when the film starts, the cast in this film much like the first film is really strong here and blends completely well together. Everyone does a fantastic job here but the standouts include Daniel Craig who once again is fantastic as Benoit Blanc, heck he’s better here than he was in the first film. He delivers even more clever lines, some really great jokes and brings this old fashion whodunnit type of feel to his character. Janelle Monáe is truly great here and blends pretty well with Daniel Craig especially the scenes dedicated to the two of them, Kate Hudson is just having a blast as well as Madelyn Cline who are two very fun characters. Finally there’s Edward Norton who’s character is very well written and the satire element really shines through. The filming is quite well done and really compliments the whole film’s atmosphere, much like I said about Craig’s performance Glass Onion has a very old fashion whodunnit film type of feel to it. Rian Johnson really does a masterful job of balancing the familiar type of elements while adding an incredible amount of new elements that make the film much more interesting, the writing is very clever and slowly but surely builds the whole mystery of the film. Heck the mystery itself is on a bigger scale than the first one, which leads me to how Glass Onion can be best described “bigger scale” something often that a lot of sequels forget to do is how they can make things bigger granted bigger doesn’t always mean better. In certain films it shouldn’t matter much if the sequel stays about the same, but with Knives Out it was interesting to see whether they were going to keep things about the same as the first movie or were they going to make things even bigger and make a lot of character moments, plot development and even the writing more grand? They chose the latter and completely nailed it there’s so much creativity here that really shines through the film and even opens up to more potential in the future with more installments. If you liked Knives Out you are absolutely going to love Glass Onion, it’s everything a sequel should be and should do.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery releases December 23rd on Netflix.

10/10 A+

The Menu is a delicious and clever satire.

A young couple travels to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises.

When going into The Menu I expected it to be great given the praise the film got at the Toronto Film Festival, what I wasn’t expecting was for it to be a truly fantastic film. What mainly pushes the film to extra levels is the performances the standouts being Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Fiennes and Hong Chau, Anya Taylor-Joy continues to show that she is one of the most interesting actresses currently working today and gives yet another strong performance that she really dives deep into. Ralph Fiennes and Hong Chu are both incredibly intimidating but at the same time strangely hilarious, Fiennes really gives this performance where immediately when you see him on screen he gives the viewer an uneasy feeling. It also helps that Fiennes and Chu work incredibly well together and their character’s personalities just blend so well together that it creates a haunting image. While The Menu may seem like another film that critiques the rich, it’s actually a bit more than that, it critiques food influencer culture which admittedly I have next to no knowledge of, but the film critiques it and says never hold someone you never met on a pedestal. It says this in pretty haunting ways that completely build the film including some kills that are actually pretty shocking and quite effective, atmosphere is truly thrilling and definitely one of those atmospheres that has the abandonment type feel, the film takes place on a island where it’s completely abandoned besides the characters involved. Combine that with some truly effective suspense that quickly gets under the viewer’s skin, some cleverly written dialogue and some incredible performances and you have yourself one hell of a film. Overall The Menu is truly fantastic and one of the best films of the year, make sure to seek this one out!

The Menu is available in theaters.

10/10 A+

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is a clever parody of the music biopic genre.

The unexaggerated true story about the greatest musician of our time. From a conventional upbringing where playing the accordion was a sin, “Weird Al” Yankovic rebels and makes his dream of changing the words to world-renowned songs come true. An instant success and sex symbol, Al lives an excessive lifestyle and pursues an infamous romance that nearly destroys him.

I’ve thought about Weird: The Al Yankovic Story for a couple weeks now, quite honestly the more I thought about it the more I loved it. Which it helps since I already loved it when I first watched it. Anyway Weird is a biopic on the famous comedic and parody songwriter Weird Al, a music biopic on Weird Al was inevitable the music biopic genre is one that has grown quite rapidly over the last couple of years with films like Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman, Respect and even this year’s Elvis and Dance With Somebody (which is releasing in a couple weeks at the time this was written). The only question was how were they going to approach a music biopic about Weird Al? Luckily what they went with was a very clever decision and actually compliments Weird Al as a person and his career, for starters the cast here is truly brilliant. Daniel Radcliffe at this point in his career has been very diverse when it comes to selecting roles in each genre but his portrayal of Weird Al might just be one of his absolute best, he truly captures the mannerisms and singing voice that Weird Al has and truly turns this up to eleven, it also helps that Al Yankovic is one of the writers of the film so that only adds to Radcliffe’s performance, there’s tons of songs that Radcliffe truly nails but the one that truly stands out is “Like A Surgeon” there’s so much entertainment in that scene alone that makes the film a whole lot of fun and sums up Weird Al and his style quite well. Radcliffe gives one of those performances where the actor or actress in questions completely transforms into who they are portraying. Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna is truly mind blowing talk about a performance that completely nails every scene she’s in, she captures everything from the looks, to the voice and the energy it’s all there. She’s such a delight every time she’s on screen and really works well with Daniel Radcliffe, the two really compliment each other incredibly well and keeps the movie at a very strong pace. The cameo performances are a lot of fun such as Conan O’Brien as Andy Warhol, Jorma Taccone as Pee-wee Herman and Nina West (who is actually a drag queen) as Divine. Jack Black as Wolfman Jack is also a very fun performance. But now we are getting into what I hinted at earlier how they were going to approach this movie, easy make it a parody of the music biopic subgenre and go absolute bananas with it. Which given that like I mentioned earlier that Weird Al is one of the writers this was always going to be a very creative parody. It’s one of those parody type films that actually really works and is actually one of those cases where the parody is better than some of the films it’s parodying, it’s very cleverly written with tons of jokes, the performances are truly top notch and actually compliment the film, there’s a huge amount of entertainment value that really makes the film standout on it’s own. There’s even some genuine heartfelt scenes between Al and the people around him, overall Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is a a blast of fun. It succeeds as a parody and completely matches the style of Weird Al Yannkovic, if you are fan of Weird Al please be sure to check this one out!

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is available on Roku.

10/10 A+

See How They Run is a very cleverly written whodunnit film.

In 1950s London, plans for a movie version of a smash-hit play come to an abrupt halt after a pivotal member of the crew is murdered. When a world-weary inspector and an eager rookie constable take on the case, they find themselves thrown into a puzzling whodunit within the glamorously sordid world of underground theater, investigating the mysterious homicide at their own peril.

See How They Run is the result when you take the feel and look of a Wes Anderson film and mix it in with the whodunnit it genre, to the movie’s credit it does a pretty solid job of doing exactly that. Although it might not be the most original idea and it does have a few cliches however the film works around that by excelling at almost everything else, for starters the cast is quite strong here particularly Saoirse Ronan who truly gives one of the most hilarious and entertaining performances of the year. Her comedic timing is truly spot on and her dialogue with Sam Rockwell is truly scene stealers, the film quite honestly belongs to Ronan as she really hits the ball hard with tons of film reference and her facial expressions that truly capture each scene. Sam Rockwell and the rest of the cast are quite great as well, although some of the side characters could have used a bit more screen time they are still entertaining and quite a lot of fun. As I said earlier the conversations between Rockwell and Ronan are truly some of the film’s highlights, there’s so much energy and a very strong comedic atmosphere that truly makes it all work. The dialogue is genuinely funny as well as investing the viewer into the mystery itself, overall See How They Run is a very fun film that any fan of the whodunnit genre should watch!

See How They Run is available on all VOD platforms.

8/10 B+

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules…somehow worse than it’s predecessor.

A new school year, his brother Rodrick teases him over and over and over and over again. Will Greg manage to get along with him? Or will a secret ruin everything?

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is the second of the animated Diary Of A Wimpy Kid movies and much like last years animated installment it lacks the charm of the live action trilogy (once again we don’t talk about The Long Haul). In fact somehow Rodrick Rules ends up being worse than the last one that came out last year, the only positive is Ed Asner this is one of his final performances and he did manage to get a chuckle out of me. But good lord they cut so much out of the book and the live action adaption, I get they wanted to focus on the bond between Greg and Rodrick but the live action movie managed to do that just fine with other very entertaining scenes as well. The animation is very ugly combined with very phoned in voice acting (outside of Ed Asner) the movie completely falls flat almost immediately after starting, Rodrick Rules is actually longer than the first movie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid being 58 minutes and Rodrick Rules being 1 hour and 14 minutes. However the longer time does not help the movie, in fact it makes a lot of the flaws much more noticeable particularly the animation that is just very lifeless. There’s no charm here and really fails to capture the entertainment value of the books, overall Rodrick Rules is basically a retread of the live action movie except with a lot of scenes cut and lacking both in charm and entertainment.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is available on Disney+

1/10 F

Darby and the Dead is a fun yet familiar high school ghost movie.

Follows Darby Harper, who is granted the ability to see ghosts after suffering a near death experience in her childhood. Then, she runs a side business counseling local spirits in her spare time.

Honestly there isn’t a whole lot to say here, Darby and the Dead just sort of exists as a high school movie that has Mean Girls and a ghost movie DNA in it. So it definitely doesn’t win when it comes to originality despite that however the movie is a decently fun movie, Riele Downs who plays Darby is very charming and genuinely pretty funny plus it does seem like she’s having a blast with her role, Auli’i Cravalho is also pretty solid here as well, in fact Cravalho and Downs actually work pretty well together and do a pretty decent job of entertaining the viewer. There’s a lot of the usual high school movie elements but at the very least the writing isn’t obnoxious and manages to keep things a bit interesting, the movie actually does give a bit of development for Darby which can’t be said for other movies of the genre. There’s a certain level of maturity here that makes the movie standout nicely and works it into the story. Overall Darby and the Dead is a quick and easy watch that’s genuinely a lot of fun, it won’t break any new ground but it’s definitely one of the better high school movies.

Darby and the Dead is available on Hulu.

6/10 C+

Quick Review: The Estate (2022).

Two sisters try to win over their terminally ill, difficult-to-please aunt in hopes of becoming the beneficiaries of her wealthy estate, only to find the rest of their greedy family has the same idea.

The Estate is not as bad as I thought it was going to be and there’s actually some decent performances here particularly from Toni Collette and Anna Farris who actually work quite well together, some of the jokes are actually okay and the second half of the movie is incredibly wild. However the rest of the movie really tries so hard to be offensive and just results in being painfully unfunny, there’s a lot of comedy beats that are a bit too familiar and go about the way you expect. There was definitely some potential here to be a hilarious hidden gem of a movie but the movie focusing on being as offensive as possible really ruins it unfortunately.

The Estate is available on all VOD platforms.

4/10 D+

Blue’s Big City Adventure brings back all the hosts in a fun and entertaining film!

Josh and Blue travel to New York City to attend an audition, hoping to star in a major Broadway musical while being a part of the cast.

Blue’s Big City Adventure is basically the Blue’s Clues version of Spider-Man: No Way Home! Joking aside this was genuinely really charming, I grew up watching Blue’s Clues as a kid so this really brought back a ton of memories. All three of the hosts throughout the show’s life are here Joshua Dela Cruz who plays Josh, Donovan Patten who plays Joe and Steve Burns who plays Steve. All three of which do really solid job in their roles capturing each of the characters and what made the show so iconic in the first place, the movie itself is a musical a very entertaining too. The songs are very catchy and actually well choreographed from the dancers and filled to the brim with energy, there’s a huge level of charm here that is absolutely appealing to the viewer and makes it known the movie hasn’t forgotten the spirit of the show. The story being simple as Josh and Blue traveling to New York City in order to get to in audition to be in a musical is exactly the type of thing you would want in a Blue’s Clues movie, combining Blue’s Clues with the musical genre is like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. They both blend together incredibly well and end with very entertaining results which is exactly what you get here.

Blue’s Big City Adventure is available on Paramount+

7/10 B