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.
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.
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+
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.
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.
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+
Fantasy Football just sort of exists, this is something you would have saw back in the early 2000s, with a premise like a daughter finds out she can magically control her dad who plays football through a video game console just oozes early 2000s family movie antics. And to this movie’s credit at times it is a lot of fun, Marsai Martin and Omari Hardwick are very fun in the leading roles and actually have father and daughter bonding moments that are genuinely very cute. Kelly Rowland isn’t too bad either so there’s a lot of family moments that are genuinely sweet, everything else however is very stale. The rest of the movie really doesn’t take advantage of how bizarre the plot really is and the it remains in the “play it way too safe” area which is a bit unfortunate, as there was a lot of potential to be very creative here but the movie spends a little too much time on family drama that ultimately does feel a bit more of the same from other movies.
The People We Hate At The Wedding is a whole lot of nothing, outside of Kristen Bell and a few moments this just does not do much at all, the premise sounds fine enough but plays out like something that might have been passable 10 years ago, now it just fits in with a lot of bad comedies that just aren’t funny at all. Despite this being released on Amazon Prime Video out of all the movies they have released and from what I’ve reviewed and seen, this one feels the most like a Lifetime/Hallmark movie. It plays out exactly how you expect it’s going to and just doesn’t give any of the characters some sort of personality outside of cliches, Kristen Bell is great here because she’s Kristen Bell and definitely tries her best. Otherwise this is just huge release date fodder.
The People We Hate At The Wedding is available on Amazon Prime Video.
Ticket To Paradise is a throwback to the early 2000s romcom era and in the best ways possible. Julia Roberts and George Clooney have excellent chemistry here that completely sell this movie, even if the script feels a bit too redundant or empty at times they still work with it and actually turn it into something very entertaining, Kaitlyn Dever and Billie Lourd are both fantastic here as well! Lourd once again gives a decently hilarious performance as a side character (she was fantastic in Booksmart) and has one scene in particular that is actually quite strong. It’s a small moment but it does show Lourd’s acting talent decently well, the chemistry between Kaitlyn Dever and Maxime Bouttier is really solid here. There’s tons of cute moments between the two that truly standout and are just generally really fun, not every single joke in the movie lands and there are definitely areas where the humor could have been so much better. However the humor for the most part works which is mainly due to the film capturing the spirit of early 2000s romcoms, the story is predictable yet it’s still very charming and fun to watch unfold. Is Ticket to Paradise going to break any ground? Definitely not but it is a very fun time and a step in the right direction for romcoms.
Ticket To Paradise is available on all VOD platforms.
A Christmas Story Christmas is a sequel to the 1983 film A Christmas Story, meaning this film completely ignores the events of A Christmas Story 2 which released in 2012 and was just a dreadful experience so it’s not a surprise they want to forget about that. Because surprisingly enough A Christmas Story Christmas is surprisingly pretty decent, first off the original cast returns which is great and they all do a pretty solid job here. They capture the spirits of the original characters and actually have fun with them as well, the most noticeable one that doesn’t return however is Darren McGavin because he passed away in 2006, what the film does is pretty interesting rather than recast they decided to have Old Man Parker pass away as well. They did a pretty solid job of working it into the story and actually led to some emotional moments, so I definitely give credit where credit is due. The main flaw mostly stems from the story being a bit too familiar, there’s some nice callbacks and nostalgic moments to help the movie run smoothly, but a lot of what happens ends up being traditional Christmas movie shenanigans such as the parents losing the Christmas presents so now they have to find other ways to celebrate Christmas. However there is absolutely no denying that the movie has a lot of heart as well as a lot of entertainment to it, it’s a genuinely fun movie that compliments the first film very well and uses the characters quite well. A Christmas Story Christmas isn’t going to have the impact like the first movie did, but it is a solid sequel to the original.
A Christmas Story Christmas is available on HBO Max!