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.
Scrooge: A Christmas Carol is exactly what you expect it to be, it’s basically yet another take on the classic story by Charles Dickens. And it pretty much plays out all of the events of the story you expect to, only this one is a musical. The songs are surprisingly very charming and are by far some of the best parts of the movie, there’s a ton of energy to them and the singing voices are quite great as well, unfortunately what does bog the movie down is the character designs. Which really looks like those mobile game ads you commonly see, the three ghosts are exempt from this which they actually have some pretty neat designs and are voice very well! Olivia Colman voices Ghost of Christmas Past while Trevor Dion Nicholas voices Ghost of Christmas Present, both do a really solid job and bring so much charm to their roles, plus the two are actually pretty funny. Luke Evans as Scrooge is fine enough, he gets the job done but it’s nothing really to write home about. As I said before the story plays out exactly how you expect it to and if you can past the character designs you will find a genuinely fun movie here. It’s probably not something that you will ever revisit but for what it is it’s not half bad.
Scrooge: A Christmas Carol is available on Netflix.
A Hollywood Christmas is HBO Max Christmas movie number four (not even halfway through December yet). This is not as bad as expected but good lord is this the definition of bland, it’s essentially about a movie director who wants to make a Christmas movie and wants to keep the Christmas formula until some network executive threatens to halt production. The premise itself actually leads to a couple moments that got a laugh out of me and I’ll give the movie credit it actually tried to use it’s premise in a interesting way. Well at least at first…it slowly but surely starts to evolve into the bad Christmas type of movie we all know and it does very little to recover. The writing is very forgettable, the characters aren’t anything to write home about and the rest of the movie is sort of a mess. A Hollywood Christmas isn’t offensive or anything, it’s just another very forgettable Christmas movie that after the credits roll you won’t ever come back to.
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+
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.
Neptune Frost is quite an interesting little movie, it combines many different type of genres and makes them it’s own. Combining Sci-Fi with musical elements is something you don’t see everyday and the movie did a pretty good job of showing that concept, the music in particular is quite great especially powerful singing voices that really capture the atmosphere well. Speaking of which the atmosphere combined with the filming leads to truly beautiful results, especially with the setting it’s done in so much detail from beginning to end. The costumes are wonderfully detailed and the acting is quite raw as well, a lot of the storytelling is done through the actions of the characters and the cinematography rather than the writing. But that definitely works in the film’s favor especially when the film gives the viewer so much to explore, Neptune Frost is not going to be for everyone but I do highly recommend checking this one out if it interests you!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.