REVIEW: Onward [2020]

Be Like Dad. It’s Ian Lightfoot’s (Tom Holland) sixteenth birthday and he’s hoping to make it count. He’s not about to go on a rager with friends, though. He’s way too introverted for that. Ian therefore merely seeks to conquer a few baby steps towards mild extroversion by putting on his late father’s college sweatshirt to boost confidence and check off some boxes on a list he wrote to change himself into the man he wishes he might become. That means standing up for himself when others treat him like…

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REVIEW: Sonic the Hedgehog [2020]

Gotta go fast. While a Nintendo kid growing up with Mario forever winning the mascot war against Sega in my mind, relatives did have a Genesis and played Sonic often enough for me to have watched the little blue guy somersault around loop de loops before losing his golden rings after hitting enemies or spikes. I honestly never sought it out beyond that because the game always seemed to play too fast when compared with the straightforward Mushroom Kingdom and Mega Man platforms. I guess that was the point. Speed…

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REVIEW: Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn [2020]

Paying is for dummies. It still surprises me that the so-called DC Extended Universe has a pulse after what’s transpired. Warner Bros. hasn’t helped matters with their muddying of the waters thanks to a standalone Joker film (alongside Jared Leto‘s unceremonious dumping), a newly announced Batman movie (sans Ben Affleck with some ambiguity as far as whether or not it fits under the umbrella), and the release of Superman himself now that Henry Cavill is no longer under contract. The Flash still hasn’t been made (although Ezra Miller is popping…

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REVIEW: Klaus [2019]

A true act of good will always sparks another. For a figure as ubiquitous as Santa Claus, the myriad ways in which his origin can be reborn, refashioned, and retrofitted seem infinite. Those seeking a new direction generally take the old and filter it through a contemporary generational lens wherein the jolly man’s title is passed down the line either by magic (The Santa Clause) or birthright (Arthur Christmas). Those choosing to start from scratch instead have therefore become a fascinating subsection of the Christmas genre simply by ensuring nothing…

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REVIEW: The Gentlemen [2020]

Doubt cause chaos and one’s own demise. It begins with a murder: out-of-frame, bloody, and a punctuation mark on Mickey Pearson’s (Matthew McConaughey) monologue about kingdoms and having to be the king when history ceases to be enough. By that he means the criminal underworld and intentionally getting his hands dirty to ensure the level of respect and fear necessary to stay alive in a volatile cross-section of gangster life. Mickey worked hard to get where he is as the boss of a seemingly impossible marijuana enterprise and he’s unafraid…

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REVIEW: Bad Boys for Life [2020]

Ask the horse. The synopsis started with “two hip detectives” back in 1995 after Bad Boys switched gears from being a Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey vehicle to the Michael Bay action extravaganza we know it as starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. It took eight years for “hip” to turn to “loose-cannon narcotics cops” as Bad Boys II brought Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett respectively back to the big screen with even more car chases and shootouts to earn the adjective. Both films were entertainingly mindless fun with the…

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REVIEW: Jumanji: The Next Level [2019]

Wherever they may be. The first cinematic adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg‘s Jumanji brought the board game’s wild jungle environment to its players’ quiet suburbia for a crazy survival adventure. Jake Kasdan and company could have easily done the exact same thing again with their reboot/sequel hybrid Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle due to over twenty years having past since its predecessor’s release, but they chose to breathe new life into the property instead. And it worked beautifully to earn critical, creative, and financial success. They revamped board and dice…

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker [2019]

Some things are stronger than blood. The return of Star Wars was always going to include a third trilogy because George Lucas had talked about his Skywalker saga being nine films way back in the 1980s. And since he eventually got chapters one through three on the big screen himself, it was guaranteed that Disney’s plans entailed pumping out chapters seven through nine. So why didn’t they game plan that arc? This isn’t like the Marvel Cinematic Universe where tenuous connections over ten films allow for multiple cooks to be…

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REVIEW: プロメア [Puromea] [Promare] [2019]

Oil and water as one! Its mechs vs. monsters storyline starts pretty straightforward. The latter are born from a mysterious mutation that gives a select percentage of the Earth’s population combustion powers that they simply couldn’t control at the time of the “Great World Blaze” en route to causing a mass genocide it’s taken three decades to overcome. The former are the creation of a new scientific law enforcement entity that goes by the name Foundation. With popular billionaire Kray Foresight (Masato Sakai) as its CEO, newly crafted high-tech resources…

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REVIEW: Frozen II [2019]

Do the next right thing. I have to give directors Jennifer Lee (who also wrote the script) and Chris Buck credit for not simply jumping at the chance to follow up a cultural phenomenon for the paycheck. People wondered on opening weekend when a sequel to Frozen would arrive and these two held fast to their mutual decision of waiting until the story drew them back. They even began work on a completely separate project before heeding the call of unfinished business where Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel)…

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REVIEW: The Aeronauts [2019]

Doubt is there to be listened to. When Jack Thorne decided to craft a screenplay that was able to embody the insanity of what Richard Holmes described in his book about early aeronautic pioneers, Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air, he recognized that cherry picking the best bits and smushing them together through fiction proved the simplest way to represent the era’s spirit if not each of the participants themselves. There was dramatic intrigue to meteorologist James Glaisher breaking the world record for flight altitude alongside pilot Henry…

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