Matilda: The Musical is a fun little movie.

Matilda, an extraordinary girl armed with a sharp mind and a vivid imagination, dares to take a stand against her oppressive parents and head teacher to change her story with miraculous results.

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.

Matilda: The Musical is available on Netflix.

7/10 B

Beauty and the Beast 30th Celebration is half a movie.

In honour of the 30th anniversary of the animated classic, the cast and crew put on a blended special showcase of “Beauty and the Beast”, along with new musical performances, sets and costumes inspired by the classic story.

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+

5/10 C

Pinocchio is a dark and beautiful film with the theme of life.

A father’s wish magically brings a wooden boy to life in Italy, giving him a chance to care for the child.

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.

10/10 A+

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

Spirited is a decent Christmas movie featuring Will Farrell.

A musical version of Charles Dickens’s story of a miserly misanthrope who is taken on a magical journey.

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.

6/10 C+

Lyle Lyle Crocodile is a blast and energetic!

When the Primm family moves to New York City, their young son, Josh, struggles to adapt to his new school and friends. All of that changes when he discovers Lyle, a singing crocodile that loves baths, caviar and great music. The two become fast friends, but when evil neighbor Mr. Grumps threatens Lyle’s existence, the Primms must band together to show the world that family can come from the most unexpected places.

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.

Lyle Lyle Crocodile is currently in theaters.

6/10 C+

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+