As the pandemic continues to linger, the state of seeing big releases in movie theaters remains in purgatory. COVID-19 case numbers are going down, seemingly causing box office numbers to go up to the point that theaters are beginning to show signs of a pulse, albeit not a strong one. Studios are still keeping a close eye on the pandemic on a week-to-week basis with movie dates changing at a moderate pace. When we will see blockbuster movies exclusively on the big screen rather than accompanied by same-day releases on streaming services at no extra cost (like Warner Brothers and HBO Max), nobody knows. But Disney, as they did with their Mulan remake, is dropping Raya and the Last Dragon not only in theaters, but also on Premier Access on Disney+ this Friday for $30, giving families the option to watch it at home. Not only is Raya and the Last Dragon the first great movie of 2021, but it’s also one of the best animated movies from Disney in recent memory.
The Russo Brothers, Anthony and Joe, are some of the best filmmakers in the business right now. Aside from helping shape the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the past decade, they also have their hands on several other interesting projects both in television and film that are enjoyable or well-respected. I’ve certainly been curious to see what this brotherly duo would do as directors post-Avengers: Endgame (and especially something that’s not superhero related). And with Cherry being their first directorial project since then, it is certainly something outside of their box and unlike anything we’ve seen them make before. However, the results in this odyssey are disastrous.
There are certain low-budget indie movies that come out every year that are absolute must-sees. Its looks like in 2020, Nomadland is 100% that movie. There is something captivating and beautiful about a movie that feels so human and genuine. Nomadland is captivating within the first few minutes because it doesn’t even feel like a movie; It feels like as the viewer, you’re a fly on the wall during an actual person’s life. That is very hard to pull off, so props to director/writer Chloe Zhao for achieving that. Read more
If you had guessed that a grainy black and white film with a scene involving macaroni and cheese would eventually sell for $30 million during the middle of a pandemic, please reach out to me to collect your prize. Conceived and shot during the middle of the pandemic, Malcom & Marie is another drama you can file under “a story that entirely takes place in one setting with no more than two actors that appear on screen.” Approved by multiple organizations that greenlight the shooting of films, the production was scaled back in order to follow COVID-19 protocols. While the production itself may be more fascinating than the film itself when it’s all said and done, Malcolm & Marie is still a drama worth sitting through. Sure, it may not be the awards contender Netflix was hoping it would be, but it’s still a fine film with two great performances from two actors who are currently on hot trails in Hollywood.
We all have dreams growing up as children. For me, I always wanted to be a major league baseball player. However, our life’s purpose eventually collides with our dreams. Sometimes, children’s dreams mesh with life’s purpose. But for most people (like myself), our lives take another direction as we grow up. This isn’t a bad thing however, as we are meant to live every minute by making the most of it. That, among other things, is the purpose of life and the message Pixar’s Soul gives audiences. Dealing with thematic elements for people of all ages, Soul takes us on a spiritual journey that is both beautiful and touching, which makes for one of the year’s best movies. The end results will differ for kids and adults, but Pixar veteran director Pete Doctor delivers another movie that is in the top half of Pixar’s entire catalogue.
Minutes into the opening of Tenet, you get a small sense of adrenaline. You’re strapped in for another Christopher Nolan thrill ride full of twists, turns, and spectacle. And for many moviegoers (myself included), it’s the first movie you’ll have seen in a theater in months due to the ongoing pandemic. While the excitement of watching another movie from Nolan accompanied by your return to the theater begins to settle in, so does confusion to a varying degree. In terms of story, Tenet is Nolan’s most inspiring movie to date; it’s easy to view this movie as the filmmaker’s attempt at making a James Bond movie (he’s always wanted to make a Bond movie). But with that comes the see-saw battle of being able to fully comprehend everything that’s happening. But even though Tenet can be dizzying at times, it’s still another exciting blockbuster from Nolan.
British literature can be a tough nut to crack when adapting for film or television. Stay too close or linear to the source material, and you risk tuning out your audience. Loosely adapt the source material, and you open a Pandora’s box; it may be inviting to change things around, but you risk tainting the legacy of the characters in the story and its author. Thankfully, The Personal History of David Copperfield is more than just a respectable adaptation of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. It is a refreshing adaptation from director (and co-writer) Armando Iannucci that is so full of charm that only an antagonist from one of Dickens’ classic stories would not like this film. You would be quite a Scrooge not to enjoy this movie from start to finish.
With this movie review being published, we would like to inform our readers that for the foreseeable future, we will publish movie reviews when it’s most safe and convenient for our staff members to view new releases.
Who better to welcome audiences back to the theaters than Russell Crowe? Well, I’m sure that question could spur so many different answers. But hey, it’s a new world where, for now, everything is day-to-day. For example, weeks ago, we had Tenet and Mulan being the first movies to welcome us back to the theater. But with things being so uncertain, that changed. Tenet is now opening Labor Day weekend and Mulan is skipping theaters (in the US) and hitting premium video on demand. So, with the dominoes falling back into different places, Solstice Studios’ Unhinged is the first new release for viewers in a majority of theaters reopening in the US today. Thankfully, Unhinged is not some leftover movie in the bin that gets an opportunity to be the “first” major release in theaters since March. Unhinged is exactly what you pay for: it’s a B-level thriller that lets a two-time Academy Award-winner go nuts in the lead role.
These past few weeks certainly have been challenging, stressful, and, well pick your synonym, for most people around the world. So much uncertainty and despair has left many of us isolated at home instead of being out socially, going to the movies among other things. With movie theaters closed until the curve is flattened on the current pandemic, millions, like myself, are left with streaming as the only way to watch new movies in place of our theatrical experiences at our local multiplexes. Thankfully, Netflix is still rolling out new content on a daily basis, including original movies like Uncorked, which drops today. From director Prentice Penny, this dramadey about wine and family is just what the doctor ordered during these uncertain times.
If you thought Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk was intense, director Sam Mendes’ 1917 is here to say, “Hold my beer.” That’s not a diss to Dunkirk, which was one of the best movies of 2017. But after witnessing another staggering war epic in the case of 1917, it feels like it’s in a league of its own. This largely is due to 1917 playing out like a one-shot movie. If you’re not familiar with that term, a one-shot movie is “a full-length movie filmed in one long take by a single camera, or manufactured to give the impression it was” (according to Wikipedia). And thanks to a combination of other impressive achievements that come together on the big screen, 1917 is not only filmmaking at its best, but it’s also the best movie of 2019, period.
It’s hard to believe that a sequel to Jumanji made over $950 million dollars just two years ago. With likable stars attached, including Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan, and a new concept that worked, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle became a box office smash. With word of mouth that helped keep its legs at the box office through the holidays, it was inevitable that a sequel would be fast-tracked. Like a video game sequel (which is what Jumanji is nowadays), Jumanji: The Next Level is here with a concept of being bigger in terms of scope and characters – just like most sequels to video games. Does it work as another entertaining action adventure? Yes, it does. But does it reach or surpass the score level of its predecessor? Not exactly, but that’s fine.
Nothing brings family together like murder or fortune, right? Just in time for the holidays, Knives Out is exactly the type of after dinner affair you want to attend. An all-star cast featuring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, and Jamie Lee Curtis (just to name a few)? A murder mystery that’s not only clever, but also relevant? I mean, seriously. What’s not appealing about this original movie from writer and director Rian Johnson? From the start, Knives Out is endlessly entertaining, and by movie’s end, you’ll be asking yourself if you’ve had a more fun time at the movies this year.
There seem to be very few tasks more difficult in movie making than trying to make the next chapter in one of the most iconic horror movies (and books) made over 30 years ago, no? Not only is this a difficult task, but you’re also trying to adapt a follow-up to the story of The Shining that not only pleases fans of the movie adaptation by Stanley Kubrick, but also one that its author, Stephen King, approves of. (He publicly has stated that he hates the Kubrick film.) With King’s properties being a hot commodity in Hollywood right now, Doctor Sleep, even if not handled properly, still easily could have been a cash grab. But thankfully, director Mike Flanagan handles Doctor Sleep with confidence and impeccable attention to detail, with the final result being a wholly satisfying next chapter in Danny Torrance’s story.
Right after an all too familiar opening action sequence, it becomes quite clear what audiences are in for. Yes, you’re seeing a Will Smith action thriller, but it feels like an action movie straight out of the nineties (complete with the Jerry Bruckheimer production logo before the movie starts). That can be a good thing, and we’ve seen positive examples of that in recent years. But if you have a ho-hum story and laughable dialogue, then no amount of action sequences can save your mundane movie, Gemini Man. A combination of Will Smith and director Ang Lee not only makes for a decent chance for a winning formula, but also a comeback formula here given that both big Hollywood names are due for redemption given their recent track records. But alas, Gemini Man is not that comeback. Read more