2022 Movie Catchup: Hypochondriac, 13: The Musical, Alone Together and Cave Rescue.

Will has a loving boyfriend and a good life, but when his mentally ill mother reemerges after a 10-year absence, he descends into a dark spiral of madness, haunted by the manifestation of his childhood trauma.

Hypochondriac had everything it needed to be a solid movie it’s the way it was executed that really held it back. There was some genuinely decent moments that actually tackled mental illness in a surprisingly realistic way during the first half of the movie. It did a genuinely good job of building Zach Villa’s character and brought many ideas to the table that I was very interested to see how the movie would develop them during the rest of the movie. Unfortunately the rest of the movie completely abandons the realistic approach to mental illness and instead trades in for a very over the top cliched way that a lot of movies commonly do, a lot of the story is replaced with trying to be a slow burn that uses trippy visuals which I don’t have an issue with the idea itself. The problem is it has to at least make some sort of sense and can’t just come right out of nowhere and sadly that’s the case here, heck the trippy visuals didn’t even look that great so the payoff was really not worth it in this case. It’s a shame because the acting was pretty decent and there were a handful of moments from the writing that really delivered, if you really fixed up the second half of the movie and put it more in line with the first half. You would have a very strong movie that could be seen as a hidden gem, but as it stands Hypochondriac is unfortunately a huge missed opportunity.

Hypochondriac is available on all VOD Platforms.

5/10 C

After moving from New York City to Indiana, a 12-year-old navigates his parents’ divorce, his impending bar mitzvah and his new school’s social circles.

From what I’ve read about 13: The Musical it absolutely butchers the Broadway musical it’s based on, cutting several songs and replacing them with new ones is one of the main criticisms I’ve seen. Which at that point why make the movie in the first place? But that’s honestly the least of this movie’s issues because some of the songs here aren’t bad, a lot of them sound the exact same unfortunately but I don’t think any of them are terrible. Mainly due to the cast having great singing voices and definitely try to give it their all, the main issues here are mostly the story being the most below average coming of age story you could think of. And the style of the movie that just comes off as an old navy commercial (particularly a back to school commercial) the choreography is great and as I said the cast truly tries to make the film work but they just aren’t given a lot to really work with. Outside of a few moments that are genuinely touching the movie’s themes go about as deep as a bad Disney Channel Original movie.

13: The Musical is available on Netflix!

3/10 D-

Two strangers wind up double-booked in the same upstate New York rental during the start of COVID-19. Exasperating the situation, the lockdown forces them both to stay and confront the unexpected feelings that develop between them.

Oh joy another COVID-19 related movie, I was honestly considering skipping on this one but Katie Holmes in the director’s chair caught my eye. Talk about tone-deaf and self centered, the movie attempts to show two strangers bonding and slowly having romantic feelings for each other during the pandemic. While having this state of ignorant bliss when the rest of the world was suffering, with Language Lessons and 7 Days were aware what they were talking about, they were actual great films and the movie wasn’t just about the main character’s issues. With Alone Together you get nothing but the main characters constantly being ignorant about the rest of the world while acting like they have it the absolute worst, Katie Holmes, Jim Sturgess and Derek Luke do a fine enough job here but there really isn’t anything to get excited over. It’s emotionally hollow and very dull in it’s execution, there’s a couple moments with Melissa Leo which are genuinely sweet. But it’s not enough to save this movie from being a huge mess.

Alone Together is available on all VOD Platforms.

2/10 F

Twelve boys and their football coach become trapped in a northern Thailand cave by flood waters, and an international team of rescue workers scramble to save them.

Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe there has never been a two movies that have been released on the same day that are about the exact same thing in recent years at least (it probably has happened before I just can’t recall it ever happening). Thirteen Lives (which I already reviewed) and Cave Rescue are about the exact same thing which is about the Tham Lung cave rescue, Cave Rescue is the definitely the weaker of the two it does have great filming and there are some claustrophobic moments that are done pretty well. But a lot of this movie feels like a much weaker version of Ron Howard’s version, the acting is not as good and the writing is just not there when it comes to powerful moments. It’s just more of the same thing as Thirteen Lives only worse.

Cave Rescue Is available on all VOD Platforms.

3/10 D-

2022 Movie Catchup: Hypochondriac, 13: The Musical, Alone Together and Cave Rescue.

Will has a loving boyfriend and a good life, but when his mentally ill mother reemerges after a 10-year absence, he descends into a dark spiral of madness, haunted by the manifestation of his childhood trauma.

Hypochondriac had everything it needed to be a solid movie it’s the way it was executed that really held it back. There was some genuinely decent moments that actually tackled mental illness in a surprisingly realistic way during the first half of the movie. It did a genuinely good job of building Zach Villa’s character and brought many ideas to the table that I was very interested to see how the movie would develop them during the rest of the movie. Unfortunately the rest of the movie completely abandons the realistic approach to mental illness and instead trades in for a very over the top cliched way that a lot of movies commonly do, a lot of the story is replaced with trying to be a slow burn that uses trippy visuals which I don’t have an issue with the idea itself. The problem is it has to at least make some sort of sense and can’t just come right out of nowhere and sadly that’s the case here, heck the trippy visuals didn’t even look that great so the payoff was really not worth it in this case. It’s a shame because the acting was pretty decent and there were a handful of moments from the writing that really delivered, if you really fixed up the second half of the movie and put it more in line with the first half. You would have a very strong movie that could be seen as a hidden gem, but as it stands Hypochondriac is unfortunately a huge missed opportunity.

Hypochondriac is available on all VOD Platforms.

5/10 C

After moving from New York City to Indiana, a 12-year-old navigates his parents’ divorce, his impending bar mitzvah and his new school’s social circles.

From what I’ve read about 13: The Musical it absolutely butchers the Broadway musical it’s based on, cutting several songs and replacing them with new ones is one of the main criticisms I’ve seen. Which at that point why make the movie in the first place? But that’s honestly the least of this movie’s issues because some of the songs here aren’t bad, a lot of them sound the exact same unfortunately but I don’t think any of them are terrible. Mainly due to the cast having great singing voices and definitely try to give it their all, the main issues here are mostly the story being the most below average coming of age story you could think of. And the style of the movie that just comes off as an old navy commercial (particularly a back to school commercial) the choreography is great and as I said the cast truly tries to make the film work but they just aren’t given a lot to really work with. Outside of a few moments that are genuinely touching the movie’s themes go about as deep as a bad Disney Channel Original movie.

13: The Musical is available on Netflix!

3/10 D-

Two strangers wind up double-booked in the same upstate New York rental during the start of COVID-19. Exasperating the situation, the lockdown forces them both to stay and confront the unexpected feelings that develop between them.

Oh joy another COVID-19 related movie, I was honestly considering skipping on this one but Katie Holmes in the director’s chair caught my eye. Talk about tone-deaf and self centered, the movie attempts to show two strangers bonding and slowly having romantic feelings for each other during the pandemic. While having this state of ignorant bliss when the rest of the world was suffering, with Language Lessons and 7 Days were aware what they were talking about, they were actual great films and the movie wasn’t just about the main character’s issues. With Alone Together you get nothing but the main characters constantly being ignorant about the rest of the world while acting like they have it the absolute worst, Katie Holmes, Jim Sturgess and Derek Luke do a fine enough job here but there really isn’t anything to get excited over. It’s emotionally hollow and very dull in it’s execution, there’s a couple moments with Melissa Leo which are genuinely sweet. But it’s not enough to save this movie from being a huge mess.

Alone Together is available on all VOD Platforms.

2/10 F

Twelve boys and their football coach become trapped in a northern Thailand cave by flood waters, and an international team of rescue workers scramble to save them.

Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe there has never been a two movies that have been released on the same day that are about the exact same thing in recent years at least (it probably has happened before I just can’t recall it ever happening). Thirteen Lives (which I already reviewed) and Cave Rescue are about the exact same thing which is about the Tham Lung cave rescue, Cave Rescue is the definitely the weaker of the two it does have great filming and there are some claustrophobic moments that are done pretty well. But a lot of this movie feels like a much weaker version of Ron Howard’s version, the acting is not as good and the writing is just not there when it comes to powerful moments. It’s just more of the same thing as Thirteen Lives only worse.

Cave Rescue Is available on all VOD Platforms.

3/10 D-

Zombies 3 is dead on arrival.

Zed anticipates an athletic scholarship while Addison gears up for Seabrook’s first international cheer-off. Then suddenly, extraterrestrial beings arrive in Seabrook, provoking something other than friendly competition.

I guess one of the more interesting things about Zombies 3 is that it got the Disney+ upgrade treatment, for those that don’t know the previous two movies Zombies and Zombies 2 were Disney Channel Original Movies. And while the movie at times does seem like it still has a made for TV aura to it, there definitely is the noticeable upgrade changes (mostly the songs that were surprisingly catchy). However like the two previous movies unless you are a die hard fan this is going to be more or less be the same thing, the characters are still not investing and the jokes are just not funny, as I said earlier the only fun moments are the songs which even then are something I will probably never look back at.

Zombies 3 is available on Disney+

2/10 F

The Bob’s Burgers Movie cooks up an entertaining ride!!

A ruptured water main creates an enormous sinkhole right in front of Bob’s Burgers, blocking the entrance indefinitely and ruining the Belchers’ plans for a successful summer. While Bob and Linda struggle to keep the business afloat, the kids try to solve a mystery that could save their family’s restaurant. As the dangers mount, these underdogs help each other find hope as they try to get back behind the counter.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie is based on the animated tv series of the same name, I’ll start out by saying Bob’s Burgers is the only animated adult tv show that is currently still airing that I actually care for. There’s already been big discussions of why a lot of the shows in the genre have dropped massively in quality such as The Simpsons and Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers however has managed to stay consistent and actually be really strong. Granted I haven’t seen every single episode of Bob’s Burgers but I have seen enough to say that I quite like the series, so I was pretty excited to hear that a movie was being released. Luckily The Bob’s Burger Movie does not disappoint and is what you expect, the film has a lot of the same humor and style that both blend so well together. Not every single joke is a hit but the charm mainly comes from the characters who are truly well written, the musical segments are quite fantastic and are genuinely hilarious as well. One main fear I did have with the movie going in was I was worried it was going to feel like an extended tv episode, and while sometimes it does feel like that mainly due to the many plots. For the most part it feels very cinematic mainly due to the animation having a more clean look to it and the energy of the film being very energized, the voice acting like the show is really strong one of the key aspects that make Bob’s Burgers so great is how well the cast blends together and that is displayed here quite well! Overall there might not be much to The Bob’s Burgers movie however it’s still a very entertaining ride from beginning to end, fans will most definitely love this one and the film is pretty accessible to people who haven’t seen the show!

The Bob’s Burgers Movie releases in theaters on Friday!

8/10 B+

Sneakerella is another lame Cinderella Story.

El, an aspiring sneaker designer from Queens, works as a stock boy in a shoe store and hides his artistic talent. Sparks fly after a chance encounter with Kira King, the daughter of sneaker royalty and a Manhattan Princess Charming of sorts. With a nudge from his best friend and a touch of magic, El finds the courage to lace up and dream big.

I’ll give Sneakerella this it wasn’t AS bad as I expected but that doesn’t make it a good movie (far from it), but the positives are mostly the acting from Chosen Jacobs, Lexi Underwood and Juan Chioran (who gets underutilized), the singing voices are pretty strong particularly the 3 I just mentioned have great singing voices and the choreography is actually pretty well done. There’s some genuine good moments during the singing segments as well as dancing segments that are touching. What completely hurts this movie however is the fact it’s a Cinderella story, this is the type of movie that did not need to be a Cinderella story. I think this would have largely benefited if it was it’s own thing and it did some changing around, granted they did change a few things from the typical Cinderella story but it wasn’t enough to warrant doing another one. Especially when we just had James Corden as a mouse last year, as far as the rest of the movie goes if you have seen Cinderella before you have already seen this one. Once again Sneakerella is yet another Disney+ movie that feels like a Disney Channel Original Movie except with a slightly higher budget, had Sneakerella been a dance movie something similar to Step Up for example and changed the plot around as well as the writing. This could have been something at least passable but as it stands it’s yet another Cinderella Story that will be quickly forgotten about. Sneakerella isn’t horrendous it’s just very forgettable, it might be a good watch for kids but for everyone else don’t bother.

Sneakerella is available on Disney+

4/10 D+

Cyrano is a flawed yet much different musical!

Too self-conscious to woo Roxanne himself, wordsmith Cyrano de Bergerac helps young Christian nab her heart through love letters.

Cyrano is definitely an interesting case, there’s a lot to this movie than I originally thought before going into it. I still am very undecided if it succeeded in every category perhaps another watch is needed but for now I feel confident in saying that I liked it for what it was. The strongest parts about it are by far the acting from Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett and Kelvin Harrison Jr. all of which give fantastic performances and have a ton of charm to them as well. Something very refreshing to see is how romantic the film is, modern romance movies always have the need to go for the romantic comedy genre even when it’s not necessary. So it’s very refreshing to see a romance film that doesn’t try to become a romantic comedy halfway through the film, then there’s music which for the most part is pretty great. But by far the showstopper is “Wherever I Fall” it’s one of my favorite moments from a film 2021, between the lyrics, singing voices and the camera focusing on the tragedy and tension of the characters singing it truly captures something beautiful. Cyrano does have it’s draw backs one of the major ones being that Peter Dinklage is not a very good singer, he’s definitely not bad at all, but when compared to Bennett, Harrison Jr or anyone else in the film you start to see a massive difference. At times it’s very rough and doesn’t go for the emotion he intends to go for, with that said what does help is the charm. Peter Dinklage is a very charming actor in almost any given role he’s in so it at least helps with his singing. The pacing is unfortunately a issue, especially during the middle of the film where it feels like so much yet so little has actually happened. The last 40 or so minutes are by far the strongest parts of the film which includes some very powerful songs (one of which being Wherever I Fall the song I talked about earlier), some really strong acting and a nice wrap up to the film. Overall Cyrano is a very solid musical that’s quite different but I do think there were far better musicals that were released in 2021. Still I do recommend giving this one a shot when you get the chance.

Cyrano will be released in theaters worldwide February 25th

7/10 B

West Side Story (2021) is massive both in emotion and quality!

Love at first sight strikes when young Tony spots Maria at a high school dance in 1957 New York City. Their burgeoning romance helps to fuel the fire between the warring Jets and Sharks — two rival gangs vying for control of the streets.

If someone told me at the beginning of 2021 that West Side Story was going to end up being one of my favorite films of the year, I would not believe them at all. The trailers really did not do much for me at all, what I was very interested in was Spielberg directing and Rachel Zegler plus Ariana DeBose. West Side Story sets the tone of it’s music with the opening, it’s fast paced, very well filmed and very strong music wise. The whole film makes sure to tell the audience how massive it is, it’s a type of technique that I haven’t seen in a film in quite awhile. It’s mostly thanks to Spielberg’s direction which creates a beautiful picture along with the cinematography, which works perfectly with the choreography from everyone involved. Rachel Zegler gives a fantastic first time performance, she absolutely shines like a star and is definitely someone who’s going to have a nice long career, Ariana DeBose gives a fantastic performance as well, between the choreography and her singing voice she absolutely nails it. There’s one scene in particular with both Zegler and DeBose that truly show how powerful their voices are together, Rita Moreno brings more of the quite moments to life and does a spectacular job of doing just that, finally there’s Mike Faist who delivers some quite amazing choreography and brings so much emotion to his role. Ansel Elgort is definitely the weakest of the bunch there are moments where he’s not too bad, but Elgort isn’t enough to bring this film down. Mainly because the film isn’t the Elgort show it explores the different characters and how they feel about the current situations, plus everyone else involved completely out shines Elgort to the point where you completely forgot he was even there. Spielberg’s direction is truly perfection and a huge breath of fresh air after his last couple films, his direction in West Side Story really reminds you of why he’s one of the most celebrated directors working today. As I said in my Tick Tick Boom review there’s been a lot of musical films this year, West Side Story manages to be one of them that feels like you are at the show itself. From the acting, lighting and choreography it’s truly beautiful to see. As I said earlier the film feels massive which gives you a lot to explore during each music number or scene, West Side Story is truly one of the best films of the year and a huge accomplishment from Spielberg and a lot of the cast! Be sure to check this one out!

West Side Story is in theaters!

10/10 A+

Tick Tick Boom is an emotional and inspiring film!

Based on the autobiographical musical by playwright Jonathan Larson. It’s the story of an aspiring composer in New York City who is worried he made the wrong career choice, whilst navigating the pressures of love and friendship.

Fun fact Jonathan Larson the man that Andrew Garfield went to the same college I did and graduated with the same degree as well (Adelphi University with a BFA)

2021 has been year filled with musicals, some of which have really stood out and remain as some of the best films of the year. While others have completely failed and have either been forgotten or end up being some of the worst of the year. Tick Tick Boom is truly one of or arguably the best musical I’ve seen this year. Andrew Garfield gives easily one of the best performances of the year, in fact this role is most definitely going to be a highlight of his career he truly captures the broadway aesthetic type of performance that makes you feel like you are there watching a broadway show. In fact the whole film itself feels like the closest to a Broadway show, from the sets, to everyone’s acting and facial expressions it really does hit the Broadway feel out of the park. Alexandra Shipp and Robin de Jesús both do a fantastic job as well, the singing voices are all beautiful and truly make this film standout. The film itself is a huge gut punch as well especially towards the end because it is indeed a sad but very inspiring story that really hits your emotions at all times. It’s a film that truly gets to you and inspires you, in some ways I can relate to this film being worried I made the wrong choice and navigating through tough pressures. Overall Tick Tick Boom is one of the best films of the year and is something that I highly recommend watching especially if your a fan of Broadway!

Tick Tick Boom is available on Netflix!

10/10 A+

The Strings is a beautifully haunting experience!

In the dead of winter, a musician travels to a remote cottage to work on new material, but soon finds herself under attack from a mysterious dark presence.

The Strings will most definitely not be for everyone, as it is the very definition of a slow burn. With that said The Strings is one of the most hauntingly beautiful films of the year, Tegan Johnston gives a haunting but at the same time gorgeous performance. Johnston is a star in the making, there isn’t a whole lot of dialogue however it’s replaced for cold cinematography and Johnston’s acting which does a fantastic job of telling the viewer how she feels and what they she is thinking. The music is beautifully done it captures the atmosphere that the film is going for, which is something I haven’t seen in too many movies as of late and that is the sense of loneliness. The film takes place in a remote cottage during the winter while it’s snowing, which is the perfect opportunity to use such a haunting atmosphere that really brings you into the film. Tegan Johnston also has a beautiful singing voice, her voice also captures the sense of loneliness type feel to it as well. Overall The Strings is one of the best films of the year that I can’t recommend enough!!

The Strings is available on Shudder!

9/10 A

Diana: The Musical is a boring and disastrous musical.

The dazzling and devastating life of Princess Diana takes center stage in this original musical, filmed in advance of its official Broadway opening.

I’m not going to harp on this one for too long because there really isn’t much to comment on. Diana: The Musical is another one of those recorded performances that was put on to a streaming service in this case Netflix, which I don’t mind streaming services doing this however the line gets drawn when something (and I hate to use this word) cringe gets shoved on the platform. Diana: The Musical has nothing going for it, the songs feel like the exact same thing, the show feels way too long and feels grating. The plot is not interesting at the slightest, heck I’m not even entirely sure what the plot is due to it feeling like a complete and total mess. I’m sure the performers are talented people and they definitely tried with what they were given, but not once did I feel any sort of emotion or good performance being put into it. I really don’t have anything else to say, originally I was going to skip this one and I wish I did.

Diana: The Musical is now available on Netflix!

Disgrace To Cinema F