Wes Anderson is kind of low hanging fruit for this sort of thing. I mean he knows he makes movies with the same emotional beats, imagery, and story lines over and over, but we love him for it anyway. It is just what he does. However, Honest Trailers completely knocks it out of the park with this video. It was all I could do to keep from crying I was laughing so hard. Honest Trailers is usually pretty funny, but this is one of their best. Obviously you will need to have seen a few Wes Anderson movies to truly appreciate it, but if you are fan of his work like I am, it is a must watch.
A Wrinkle In Time is a favorite from my childhood. It was read to me when I was very young, and then I read it by myself latter, multiple times, so it was never a mystery to me why it was never made in to a major motion picture. It is a weird book, and it would take a lot of effort to get right, and it would probably not get a lot of return on that effort. Unfortunately for Ava DuVernay, her A Wrinkle In Time gets so caught up trying to wow us with magic and wonder that it doesn’t tell an engaging story.
The plot for the movie is similar to the one from the book. Meg Murry (Storm Reid) has been a troubled kid since the disappearance of her father (Chris Pine) four years prior. A scientist who believes that you can travel the stars with only your mind. It turns out that he was right, and he is lost in the stars, so Meg, her brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), and friend from school Calvin O’Keefe (Levi Miller) will go out to look for him with the help of the Mrs.’. A group of space traveling supernatural beings, and Oprah.
Obviously since I love the book, I have no real problems with the plot of the movie. The problem is that it is a little threadbare. We know that Meg has issues, and that she has to deal with them so she can be a ‘warrior’ and find her father, but I am never sure that she really does. A Wrinkle In Time says Meg does, and she does get less grumpy, but really she just moves from place to place while a giant
Oprah Mrs. Which tells her affirming things. When in actuality it seems like only The Happy Medium (Zach Galifianakis) gives her any useful advice. Letting her know that it is okay to be scared of the answers to life’s questions, but that shouldn’t stop you from asking them anyway.
You would hope that with the story having issues that maybe the spectacle would make up for it, and they tried. A $100 Million budget allows you to do whatever you want, but not well enough to not look cheesy. Someone should have come along beside DuVernay and told her that she should scale things back a bit. Like maybe have Oprah be normal sized, so the visual effects artists don’t have to do a poor job of digitally painting her on to the scenery, and so she can better interact with the other actors. It is not just Oprah though, nothing ever looks 100% like it should, which is a shame.
The actors are all okay. Though they are not given a lot to do except smile weirdly or look amazed while caught in an extreme close up. So close. If a child’s face doesn’t fit on a movie theater screen, you need to back up the camera a bit. Storm Reid does her best to show Meg’s transition from troubled to ‘warrior’, but she doesn’t quite get the scenes necessary to make it work. However, they did manage to pull it all together for an emotional punch at the end.
I wanted to love A Wrinkle In Time, but instead it was merely okay. It had parts that worked, but they get lost between the poor plotting and bad CGI. Kids will probably still like this movie, and it is fine family fare, but this is not the classic that I am sure Disney was hoping for. That way they could green light the next four books. I am sure that in ten years Disney will try again, and maybe then they will get it right.
Thanks to Comcast feeling like they needed to lock me in to a one year contract, I now have access to HBO again. Which means I got to watch Get Out for free just before the Oscars last night. Sadly that means I didn’t get to post this review until after it already won its Oscar for Best Screenplay. An Oscar Jordan Peele deservedly won.
Get Out is about an African American man, Andre Hayworth (Daniel Kaluuya), who is visiting his white girlfriend’s rich parents for the weekend. Things are as awkward as you would expect, but then after a while things go from everyday racist to something more sinister, and Hayworth needs to figure it out before it is too late. Actually he should just listen to his buddy and GET OUT!
Get Out is brilliantly written. It uses horror movie tropes to shine a light on the little racist things people who say they aren’t racist do all the time. From asking dumb questions about stereotypes to touching without asking. Not to mention just saying all the things that make them not a racist to make themselves feel better. Honestly, all of that was more horrifying than the horror parts of this movie. Which are still pretty good.
Daniel Kaluuya gives a wonderful performance as Hayworth. They way he understandably misunderstands what is going on as the normal crap he has to deal with everyday is completely believable. Though my favorite character is Rod Williams played by Lil Rel Howery. He is Hayworth’s best friend, and probably the best TSA agent out there. He adds some great comedic moments, and is a prefect stand in for the audience.
Jordan Peele made something special with Get Out, and I am glad the Oscars rewarded him for it. Peele showed that he had a lot of potential with Key & Peele, and it is great to see him living up to it. If you haven’t seen Get Out yet, get out and watch it.
It was only a matter of time before the hit reboot of My Little Pony got a movie of its own. Sadly, the writers were not able to come up with a story worthy of the big screen. It feels like a multi-episode special, but not one of their better ones. If you have kids that love the show, they will still probably like this movie, but My Little Pony: The Movie will not win over any new fans.
Princess Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) is having a hard time shouldering the load of being a new princess. She feels like it is all up to her to make sure everyone is having fun and making friends. To make matters worse during her inaugural Friendship Festival a new villain called the Storm King decides to invade Equestria. His forces are being led by the broken horned unicorn Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt). Twilight feels like she is the only one who can save her home and friends.
This is a fine enough setup, but a story about how Twilight feels like it is all up to her when she should be leaning on her friends is well trod territory for the show, so fans will no doubt see how this movie plays out from its opening frames. Also, it seems like the producers knew the plot was a little thin, so they just amped up the cast with a lot of well known people as random characters for marketing purposes. Tempest Shadow is kind of an interesting character, but the rest of the new additions to Pony Canon are pretty much throwaways.
The animation at least got a good bump in quality. The Mane 6 have never looked so good. The flat basic color style is preserved, but there is a lot of extra little detail, and it is much smoother. For My Little Pony fans it is probably worth watching just to see the best representation of their favorite Pony Pals.
My Little Pony: The Movie feels like a lost opportunity to tell a good story and win over some new fans. Right now I can only recommend it to existing fans, or families with young kids. There have been far worse movies made out of kids shows, but considering how good My Little Pony is, My Little Pony: The Movie feels a bit like a let down.
After ten years and seventeen movies, Marvel has finally made a movie based off of their first African superhero, Black Panther. While King T’Challa technically made his debut in Captain America: Civil War, this is really our first big screen introduction to the character, and it was quite the introduction. The reviews and the build up have been telling me that Black Panther is the greatest Marvel movie of all time, which it isn’t, but it is very good, and it makes me wonder why Marvel took so long to introduce such an important character.
Black Panther begins right after Captain America: Civil War ends, but just in case you are worried, they do a little flashback, so you don’t need to have watched that movie or re-watch it to remember what happens. King T’Chaka (John Kani) has died, so the mantle of King of Wakanda and Black Panther now fall to his son T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). Unfortunately for T’Challa being King will not be easy because he will have to face down the failures of his father.
Black Panther is the best Marvel origin story since Iron Man. It manages to tell a personal story with real stakes, and the villain’s motivations actually make sense. He is not just trying to kill people and rule stuff because that is what villains do. Michael B. Jordan’s Erik “Killmonger” Stevens is still undeniably evil, but you understand why his is doing what he is doing, and you sympathize with his quest. You want him to fail, but at least you can see where his world view comes from.
While Jordan’s Killmonger may steal the show. Chadwick Boseman’s uncertain yet always just Black Panther is also a treat. Yes, he is another rich guy in a suit, but at least he isn’t a self absorbed jerk. He values his friends and family, and that makes him much more likable. Boseman brings him to life expertly. Then just to tie things together they throw in a cast full of Oscar winners and powerhouse talent. Black Panther’s casting director wasn’t playing around.
What didn’t hold up so well is the CGI. For the most part it is okay, but during the big fight scenes at the end it starts to strain a bit. The purple smudge of a Vibranium mine and some globby charging animals just look off, and if you were hoping that Black Panther would end without two cartoony CGI guys punching each other you, will be disappointed.
Still, a slightly off ending was not a enough to derail all the good that Black Panther did in the first 90% of the movie. Marvel has yet another great movie to add to its collection, and a new hero to move about its movie universe, so if you are one of the two people that hasn’t seen it yet, you probably should. To Marvel fans everywhere, you should be thrilled. The king has arrived.