Honestly the more I thought about Matilda: The Musical the more I actually thought it wasn’t too bad. There really isn’t a whole lot to say here as it does play out as expected, but I will say between the performances that are actually pretty decent particularly Lashana Lynch and Emma Thompson who both give really fun and very strong performances. Emma Thompson really captures what made Miss Trenchbull so terrible from the original film really well, there’s also the music that’s actually quite great. The music isn’t really my cup of tea but I absolutely won’t deny that it’s very enjoyable and did get me to sing-along at times (outside of the baffling opening), the movie does run for a bit too long it clocks in for nearly 2 hours where at times you really do feel like the movie has run for a bit too long. Having that said the music, performances and some of the jokes are enough to keep the viewer entertained, this isn’t going to be something I’ll ever come back to but it’s an overall decent watch.
I was debating on whether or not to give the Beauty and the Beast 30th celebration but decided to since I love the original film so much, anyway this celebration isn’t exactly good. H.E.R. has her debut acting role here and she does quite a great job as Belle, her performance isn’t anything groundbreaking but she does capture some of the charm of the movie and makes it her own, Josh Groban has the excellent voice to back him up from the terrible Beast costume, Martin Short is fun as always, the songs are pretty great and stay quite true to the original movie. All the classics are here from Beauty and the Beast, to The Mob Song, Something There and heck even Evermore is here that one song that completely stole the show from the 2017 live action version that’s really neat! Everything else however is pretty rough, for starters I’m not entirely sure why they weren’t committed to making this into a complete live action stage show, half of the movie is just scenes from the animated film. We miss out on a lot of moments that I’m sure the cast would have nailed had they been given the opportunity, it’s just sort of that moment where if I wanted to watch the animated film I would put on the animated film. It’s nice to see Rita Moreno here and she tells a little history about Beauty and the Beast however all of it is common knowledge that can be easily looked up with Wikipedia articles, the storyboard art was at least pretty interesting and not something you see everyday. As for the rest it plays out the story we all know and love, I wouldn’t say this was bad but this was a very lacking 30th celebration that could have went a lot harder.
Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration is available on Disney+
Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio was a project that I have been following for a very long time now, Del Toro is one of my favorite filmmakers ever and hearing him take on Pinocchio is just a match made in heaven. Let’s start out with the obvious…the stop motion animation, it’s absolutely gorgeous in every single way possible. There’s so much detail to the backgrounds, the characters facial expressions that really tell the story even with the more quite moments they don’t need to say any words to tell the viewer how they feel at all. There’s truly this magical aspect to the stop motion animation that’s both gorgeously dark yet filled to the brim with heart. That’s a huge running theme about Pinocchio it’s a beautifully dark film with a lot of heart that’s main theme is life itself. The film takes place during fascist Italy during the interwar period and World War II which it makes that clear in the beginning with a very sad but truly powerful scene that David Bradley absolutely masters, speaking of which the voice cast is truly brilliant here Gregory Mann, David Bradley and Ewan McGregor give some of the best performances of the year, they each bring so much heart into the film that just moves you to tears. There’s so many scenes here that truly have a human feel to them Tilda Swinton who plays The Wood Spirit has some of the best scenes of the film, her interactions with Pinocchio are truly thought provoking and really make the whole film’s theme about life that much more interesting. There’s so many moments that truly move the viewer to tears, there’s this element of wanting to be belonged that I’m sure many people have felt at some point in their life. Guillermo Del Toro and Mark Gustafson truly reflects this with their direction, they create a very spiritual fairytale yet at the same time create something very human like with a lot of very real themes that a lot of people tend to think about.
Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio is available on Netflix.
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.
There really isn’t a whole lot to say about Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song, it goes over pretty much a lot of common knowledge about Leonard Cohen and one of the most beautiful songs ever written Hallelujah. Plus the song’s impact on the music and parts of the film industry as well, there’s some interviews that are truly touching as well as footage of Cohen commenting on parts of his career and when he made his resurgence. The documentary really makes it known just how influential Hallelujah became from being covered by so many artists, to being sung by several people on American Idol, X-Factor ect as well as being used in a lot of films most notably Shrek. It’s a song that’s been celebrated and will continue to be celebrated, the documentary has so much heart and soul put into it mainly from the footage of Cohen himself. It’s honestly a inspirational documentary that really goes deep into Cohen’s career, definitely check this out if you are a fan or if you are interested as this is quite a good introduction to Leonard Cohen.
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song is available on all VOD platforms.
So Regal had a second mystery movie night last night and it turned out to be Spirited, the movie did not have a strong start. The first bit of the movie is very obnoxious and a lot of the jokes completely don’t land, but if you can get through that you will find that Spirited is actually not half bad, Will Farrell is pretty great here and is definitely one of his better performances in awhile, Octavia Spencer is very charming and actually has a decent singing voice. Speaking of which the songs themselves are actually not too bad, some are definitely better than others and stand out much more. However I wouldn’t call any of them bad, Tracy Morgan is actually pretty fun here despite really not having much to do, I will give the movie credit where credit is due there is a plot point here that was decently clever. Which was the movie connecting itself to the classic Charles Dickens Christmas Carol story, Will Farrell’s character Ghost Of Christmas Present was Scrooge when he was alive. It’s a fun little plot that kind of makes the movie an unofficial sequel to A Christmas Carol (although the movie itself brands itself as a modern twist or take on the story). Ryan Reynolds is easily the weakest part about it, he once again plays the exact same sort of character he does in a lot of previous movies he’s been in. The jerk type character who tries way too hard to be funny, admittedly he does get better as the movie goes on but it really just blends in with the rest of his performances. Overall Spirited is not as bad as expected, it’s a fun little Christmas musical movie that will be nice to put on during the holidays!
Spirited releases in theaters on Friday and on Apple TV+ November 18th.
Lyle Lyle Crocodile is exactly what you expect it’s going to be, it’s a very familiar story that’s been told before. A kid who is lonely finds a special friend and then wacky antics pursue, however this one is very charming and you really can’t help but smile at the movie. Shawn Mendes’s charming performance as Lyle plus his singing voice combined with the songs is genuinely a lot of fun. It’s hands down the part that completely sells this movie and really brings it altogether, Top Of The World is easily the standout song here as the scene it’s used in is an absolute blast and filled to the brim of personality, plus a lot of the other songs follow suit as well. Javier Bardem is a lot of fun as well and Brett Gelman plays a cartoony neighbor that really works here. There really isn’t much else to say here, the film is straightforward, has a ton of heart and is definitely something kids will absolutely love. It’s not going to break any new ground but it doesn’t have to.
Entergalactic is one of the most beautiful films so far of 2022, I didn’t know what to expect going into this film but wow this definitely impressed. The cast does quite a fantastic job particularly Kid Cudi, Laura Harrier and Jessica Williams, they all put their heart and soul into their roles and really make the characters all the more interesting. By far what sticks out the most is the imaginative and beautiful animation, it feels like a hybrid of 3D and 2D animation but done in such a unique looking way. It makes the film pop out really well and adds quite a lot of flavor to it, there’s certain scenes that completely take you into the film’s own little dream like setting and invests the viewer with it’s visual style. Although the story itself is a very simple love story that has been done before, it still ends up being incredibly charming Kid Cudi’s character Jabari is a character that the audience could easily see themselves as. He’s an everyday citizen who goes through some quite beautiful arcs, the cast easily connecting with their character is what really makes the film standout, there’s truly something wonderful when you see how effortlessly the cast can connect to their characters and create a story that’s truly investing. Lastly there’s the music that just feels like a natural fit to the film the film actually serves as a visual companion piece to Kid Cudi’s album of the same name, which I have to give credit where credit is due. The film manages to standout on it’s own while also being a companion piece. Overall Entergalactic is truly fantastic despite some familiar love story elements the film is truly well done. Check this one out.
On The Come Up is a decently interesting little movie that has some really great talent here. Jamila C. Gray as the lead is truly phenomenal here especially during the third act where she gives an emotional and powerful performance. Method Man is also pretty strong here as well, Sanaa Lathan in the director’s chair is also quite great. Particularly with the third act that is truly a nice way to wrap up the movie, the movie does suffer from pacing issues particularly with the first two acts that are slow and do feel a bit formulaic. The rapping scenes are truly fantastic and lead to some pretty memorable moments, outside of those moments though the first two acts are not necessarily bad just a bit familiar. The third act as said before is quite fantastic and lead to some touching moments that make the film worth it. I definitely want to see more from Jamila C. Gray as an actress!
6 Festivals is a pretty generic coming of age movie but what makes up for it is mostly the performances and the heart of the movie. I can definitely see a lot of the cast going on to do bigger films somewhere down the line, particularly Rasmus King and Yasmin Honeychurch who has a beautiful singing voice. The second half of the movie was far better than the first mostly due to the emotional and character scenes kicking in, where as the first half is just sort of generic in it’s writing with common coming of age elements. Underneath all the music festivals there’s troubles that each of the main characters go through, while not every single one is a home run writing wise. There is still some very interesting bits that will invest the viewer and has a lot to say about different types of issues the characters are going through.