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Mary Poppins Returns

As my regular readers will know, I am not able to get to every movie… so once in a while when I’m not able to see a movie but a reader of mine is, I ask them if they would like to write a short review so I would like to thank Jessica Beaver for the below 3.5 Icee review of Mary Poppins returns…

If someone has not watched the original Mary Poppins many times, while they may enjoy the new one, a lot of the themes will be lost on them, as was the case with my Dad. However, they did an excellent job to keep with the spirit of the original MP, including having Dick Van Dyke make an appearance at the end. I do wish the balloon lady at the end would have been Julie Andrews as opposed to Angela Landsbury, but that is mostly due to my fondness for Julie Andrews.

Emily Blount did a fabulous job keeping the mystery and magic of MP alive, but giving it her own, more serious twist. I think knowing the details of the first MP is what allowed me to enjoy the second one so much.

That would not mean someone who has never seen the original wouldn’t enjoy her return, though it may speak to their preference in film if they are unfamiliar altogether and reflecting on their level of enjoyment. My Dad said he would not want to see it again, and I would be quite eager to go again to see if I could pick out any more of the more hidden details.

The lamplighters are reminiscent of the chimney sweeps, jumping into the Royal Daulton bowl from the children’s nursery is parallel with jumping into Bert’s chalk drawing, visiting Mary’s cousin is absolutely a memory jogger for the first visit with Uncle Albert, and Aunt Jane is carrying on her mother’s efforts for justice and rather than votes for women, she’s rallying for the working class.

In all, I would think that people who enjoy the magic and whimsy of early Disney films, specifically from the Dick Van Dyke era, would enjoy the Return quite as much as a spoon full of sugar.

No scenes after the credits (thank you aftercredits.com).

Enjoy…

Bumblebee

This fun movie gets an enthusiastic 4 Icees.  Although I think the original Transformers movie was the best of the franchise, this movie quickly moves into second place.  The movie has a nice story, plenty of action, funny scenes and is just well-done.  This was refreshing because after the first couple of Transformers movies, the rest just got stupider and stupider.  This movie goes back to its roots and I like that.

Set in the late 80s, before the first Transformers movie, this movie introduces us to Bumblebee and tells us how he got his name, and how he lost his voice.  I think the movie does this storytelling very well, but the movie isn’t perfect.  Although I normally like John Cena his acting in this movie was horrible.  I mean plastic horrible; bad acting horrible.  Get what I mean? The same can be said (although for smaller roles) for Glynn Turman and John Ortiz.

Want to know whose acting was not horrible?  In fact, her acting was quite good.  That would be Hailee Steinfeld in the lead role (lead with the exception of Bumblebee of course).  Her acting makes you actually believe her character is going through what something tramatic (can’t tell you what that is because that would be a spoiler).  An honorable mention can go to Jorge Lendeborg Jr, who doesn’t give a bad performance, but it isn’t knock-your-socks-off either.

I like that this movie tried to be true to the first movie in that it doesn’t contradict anything that comes later and in fact kind of sets things up quite nicely.

There is a scene shortly after the credits start, but nothing after that.

Enjoy…

Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse

So another Spider-Man “universe”.  Did we really need that?  Did we really need a cartoon version?  After watching this movie, the answer is YES, we did. This uniquely made movie gets 4 Icees (out of 5) for action, original cartoonography (if that’s not a word, I’m making it one) and fun.

Being an origin story of sorts, the movie starts out slow… a little too slow for my taste and I was wondering if everyone (and I mean everyone… Rottentomates has the critics at 97% and the audience at 95%) was just wrong, or if I just wasn’t getting it.  Then, it took off and captured me and I can’t wait for a sequel.  The story has a couple of standard themes, but overall it’s a fresh take on the Spidey we all know and love except for people who really read the comics… those may have seen this coming.

What I enjoyed most about this movie is that it was made differently.  I’ve been watching cartoons all my long life, but this wasn’t your normal cartoon.  The movie was made in such a way that I felt like I was watching a comic book come to life, as opposed to a standard cartoon.  It was a different way of doing things, and I liked that.

This is movie all can enjoy, and I encourage you to do so.  I watched it in 3D but honestly that really didn’t add anything to the film, so I wouldn’t recommend seeing it that way… but do see it!

There is a scene after the credits.  Some think it may give a hint to the sequel, but I don’t know.  There’s a scene and it’s my duty to let you know it exists.

Enjoy…

Aquaman

So you’ll notice that this review is coming out 1 week before the official release of the movie.  Does that mean I’ve finally been recognized as a worthy critic and am invited to advance screenings?  Yeahhhhh… no.  It simply means that they had an event for all Amazon Prime members and since my wife is one I was able to go see the movie one week before its official release.  So anyway, here’s my review.

I was stoked to see this movie because (a) I like comic book superhero movies and (2) all the pre-pre-screening results were so positive (but yet I noted that RottenTomatoes only has it at a 70% which I guess isn’t bad for this genre).  I am happy to say that this movie met my expectations and I give it a solid 4 Icees (although my wife was pushing strongly for 4.5).  All in all, this movie rocks.  There seems to be some inconsistencies and the CGI, while really good, was just too extensive.  And trust me, there is a LOT of it in this movie.  I don’t mind the underwater cinematography (Atlantis is gorgeous), but since so much of the movie takes place underwater I think the CGI was just on overload.

So with all that, what is good about the movie?  Why did it get 4 Icees?  Well, I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to see it again next weekend when it is officially released. The action is fantastic, the fight scenes well-choreographed, the beauty of the underwater scenery is amazing and the acting is really good.  There is also a good amount (not too little, not too much) of solid humor that had the audience literally laughing out loud.  It’s not a comedy, but it is light-hearted, which signals DC’s firm departure of the darker tone of some of their most recent films (which I was ok with).

Jason Mamoa carries the film with his charisma and snarky ways.  Amber Heard is awesome in her own right as Mera (who has some tricks up her sleeves as well).  Nicole Kidman (who claims to have never had plastic surgery, but it just looked painful every time she spoke), William Defoe and Patrick Wilson do a fine job in their supporting roles as well.  Heck, even Dolph Lungren (isn’t he like 100 years old or something?) and newcomer Yahya Abdul-Mateen II perform well in their roles.

Hopefully for the sequel they don’t have to rely so much on the CGI and the actors shine more.  How do I know there’s going to be a sequel?  Heck, it has already been reported that simply based on initial audience reactions that they are working on the script!

There is a scene partway through the credits, but nothing afterwards.

Enjoy…

Instant Family

So I see the trailer for this movie and I thought this would be a cute movie to see.  I figured it would be funny and then heartwarming at the end.  You know what I didn’t expect (thank you very much misleading trailers)?  A good movie.  A good movie about foster parents, kids and the things they go through.  This dramedy gets a solid 4.5 Icees.  I now see why on rottentomatoes.com it has a critic rating of 82% and an audience rating of 83%.  This movie is just… good. 4.5 Icees good!

If you are looking for a laugh-out-loud comedy movie, this isn’t the movie for you.  If you are looking for a true-to-life (this is based on a true story, and directed by one of the foster parents) story about foster parents and adoption, this may just be it.  Now I’ve never been in either of those circumstances but everything I’m reading from people that have say that this movie pretty much nails it.  Some of the “real” discussions the parents have will tear at your heartstrings (have the tissues handy for this one).

Mark Wahlberg is someone that I normally like in dramatic roles (Patriot’s Day, Deepwater Horizon, etc), action movies (Mile 22), but not comedies.  Now that may be because the only comedies I’m aware of were the Daddy’s Home movies and they just looked “stupid funny”.  I guess that’s the category I put any Will Ferrell movie in… stupid funny.  Obviously there is an audience for those type of movies because they do well.  I’m just not in that group.  For example, the upcoming Holmes & Watson movie with Will and John C. Reilly is a movie you couldn’t pay me to watch.  At all…  Anyway, back to Mark.  In this movie he drop comedic lines very well, but in the context of serious moments.  He really comes across as an everyman.

So Mark is the star, but Rose Byrne holds up her side quite well, thank you very much.  A surprise performance comes from Isabela Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight, where she probably met Mark).  She gives a truly believable performance as the oldest of the 3 children.

During the credits, pictures are shown of the family the movie is about and other foster parents with their kids.  Also, Isabela Moner sings one of the songs while the credits are rolling.

This is a good one, people.

Enjoy…

Robin Hood

Sometimes before I go to a movie, I see what the professional critics and audiences think on Rottentomatoes.com.  This was one of those times and when I saw that the critics had this at 12% and the audiences only at 51% I was discouraged, expecting to be highly disappointed.  You see, I like Taron Egerton (Kingman) and Jamie Foxx, so I had high expectations… well, at least until I read what others were thinking.  However, The Don doesn’t go solely on what others think so I still went and saw the movie, and I am glad I did!

This movie was fun, action-filled, and (of course) is set up for a franchise.  Now, with reviews like those that franchise may not happen, but more on that later.  This movie gets a solid 4 Icees.  Based on what the audiences think at RT, it appears half of you will like it and half will not.  I am definitely on the half that does.

The movie does take quite a bit of time setting things up (as if setting up for a franchise versus the movie it’s in) but once it gets going, it’s really good.  The entertainment value of this movie (and isn’t that why we go… to be entertained?) is high.  However, I have one piece of advice if you go to see this movie.  Just like the intro says… forget what you think you know about Robin Hood.  This isn’t that story.  If you do that, I think you can enjoy this film.

Your standard characters are there.  The Sheriff (played well by Ben Medelsohn), Marion (played by the enchanting Eve Hewson), Little John, Friar Tuck and even Will Scarlet.  However, these characters aren’t playing the roles that you remember.  I guess you could say that the names are the same, but the roles are different.

If you can go in with an open mind, I think you’ll enjoy this movie.  I did!

No scene during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Widows

Sometimes I’ll watch a movie that I don’t really like and it’s tough for me to put into words why.  This is one of those movies.  It’s not that I hate it… I just didn’t think it was all that great.  That’s why I am a bit tardy in writing this review and for that I apologize.  This movie gets a sad 2.5 Icees.

Why sad?  Well, with a cast like Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert Duvall and Colin Farrell you’d think this movie would be awesome.  I know I did.  I should have known when I saw that it has a rottentomatoes score of 91% with the critics but only 62% with the audiences.  Now I know why.  It’s a movie that is slow in development, with many slow points, many boring points.  You know, the kinds of things those professional critics seem to love.

I can’t really point to any particular thing other than the general things I listed in the previous paragraph.  This movie just never captured me.  Liam Neeson’s role in this was sparse and pathetic. Viola Davis played a character you could never really associate with. The rest just kind of came along for the ride.  The best word for them movie is “bleh”.

Now I didn’t give this a 1 or a 2… it is a 2.5 after all.  Mainly because there were some decent moments in the film, but just not enough of them.  Wait on this one until you can stream it.

No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

I must confess that before I saw this movie I read several non-spoiler reviews online.  It seems that critics and audiences alike were split on whether this movie should get a thumbs up or a thumbs down.  Many stated that there were too many new characters to follow.  Many loved the beasts and the appearance of the movie.  Many grumbled that it wasn’t true to the canon of the Potter movies. Many thought it was fantastic.  Many didn’t like that its focus wasn’t Newt.

I definitely understand all their positions so I base my rating on this simple question.  How well did I enjoy the movie?  Well, I enjoyed it well enough to give it 4 solid Icees!  The cinematography is magnificent. The story, although very difficult to follow at times, continues the story started in the first Beasts movie, with some tie-ins to the future that will be the Potter movies.

There are indeed new characters to follow (although I think “several” is not really accurate).  The story doesn’t focus solely on Newt and you know what?  That’s ok.  This isn’t “Newt Scamander and the Chase of Grindelwald”.  This isn’t the Harry Potter movies where everything revolved around him.  To me this is better.  This is a story unfolding that involves Newt and his three comrades from the first movie but doesn’t center on them.  It centers more on the events going on around them.  This movie advances a story that will take us through 5 movies (so there’s 3 more to go).  It doesn’t resolve the story and I don’t consider that a spoiler because it’s going to be over FIVE movies so of course everything isn’t going to be solved in movie number two.

So if I enjoyed this movie so much, how come I stopped at 4 Icees?  First, I did have difficulty following the movie at times.  Perhaps it’s because I never got immered in Potter lore.  Perhaps it’s because I didn’t memorize the Potter movies (the first two or three of which should have been titled, “Harry Potter And The Bad Actors”).  I don’t know.  I don’t think so.  To me it was more of a case that sometimes the dialog was so fast it was difficult to follow.  Or perhaps because sometimes they spoke so softly and/or the music or background noise in the film was so loud it was difficult to hear.  In any event, I think to truly get “everything” from this movie, I’ll probably need to see it again (which I undoubtedly will).

I think that those that loved the Potter books and/or movies will enjoy this a lot.  Even though I didn’t “love” those movies, I did enjoy this movie quite a bit… even if they did lose me at times.

There are no scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Nobody’s Fool

This movie suffered by misguided advertising, attempting to ride the coattails of the wildly successful Tiffany Haddish when in fact she has just a very funny supporting role in this movie.  The trailers made it seem like this was a rip-roaring comedy movie, when in fact that was only part of the story.

The movie (3 Icees out of 5) centers more around Tika Sumpter and her life, which yes… includes her recently paroled sister (Haddish). The movie starts out as the pure comedy the trailers were talking about… a woman who is catfished, but then the movie ventures off in more of a real life direction.  One that is pretty decent, albeit not terrific.  I don’t want to give out any spoilers but don’t go there expecting nothing but comedy because then you’ll be disappointed, which may explain the ratings on rottentomatoes.com.

Okay… here’s a little… it’s about lost love, catfished love, and possibly finding love again.  With a bunch of Tiffany thrown in for laughs.  Crude laughs, but laughs nonetheless.  This movie has explicit language and sexual situations (and positions).  I actually enjoyed Tiffany more in Night School than I did this movie, but it’s ok.  Tika and Amber Riley did pretty darn good themselves.

This movie also committed my pet peeve… having a scene in the trailers that was NOT in the movie.  I had it when studios do that.  If it is good enough to put in a trailer to try to sell people on seeing the movie, put it in the stinkin’ film!

There are some bloopers during the credits, but nothing afterwards.

Enjoy…

Girl In The Spider’s Web, The

I give this movie a solid 3.5 Icees out of 5.  Regular readers of my blog would know already that I did not read the book.  I don’t read.  I can read.  I just don’t.  I’m actually kind of glad that I don’t because every time someone watches a movie based on a book they’ve read, they complain how bad it is, or how much “the book is better”.   If that’s the case, why do you go and see movies based on the book?  You know you’ll be disappointed, right?  So why do it?

Whereas the first movie was more mental, this one is more action.  It’s not Jason Bourne or anything, but did remind me of Bond movies.  Guess what?  I like Bond movies, so I liked this one.  I liked this one solely based on this as a stand-alone movie.  Not compared to the most recent one (although all the characters did change, and they made the reporter (previously played by Daniel Craig) much younger and some would say hotter (Svirrer Gudnason)). I thought that Claire Foy’s performance was good (not comparing to Rooney Mara no matter how much you ask).

So what’s good about this movie?  I like the suspense and the action.  I thought those were pretty good.

What didn’t I like?  First, stop watching the trailers.  They are so badly done and give too much away.  Second, some of the “technology” in the movie is just too unbelievable. Apparently, anything can be hacked quite easily, including organizations that really shouldn’t be able to be hacked. If it fit the flow of the plot, it was hacked.  Also, there are some “twists” that are just too predictable.

Overall, I really did enjoy the movie and would recommend it.  However, it’s not a “must see” at the theater and if you can wait for Redbox, VUDU, Netflix or however you watch your movies, that’s ok too.  Oh… if you’ve read the book, you should probably not watch the movie.  You’ll probably be disappointed.

No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

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