‘Hocus Pocus 2’ [REVIEW]: Not Bewitching Again…

In his review of the original Hocus Pocus Roger Ebert said “But watching the movie is like attending a party you weren’t invited to, and where you don’t know anybody, and they’re all in on a joke but won’t explain it to you.” I can’t think of a better way to describe my experience with this film. I did not grow up with it and when I saw it I was completely unmoved by the experience. It wasn’t awful but I found the virgin shaming to be off-putting for a Disney film and the whole thing to be nothing special. I can think of so many scary Disney movies that are more imaginative with far more heart. I have a whole series on my youtube channel called Disney Scares Month (with a new month starting next week!).

Now we have Hocus Pocus 2 and I’m left in a weird position as a critic. I do not think it is a good film but as the franchise continues to elude me I have no idea what the legions of fans of the original will think of it. If you love it knock yourself out. Enjoy it. Who cares what I think?

So here’s why I don’t think Hocus Pocus 2 is a good movie. First, the very weak story. They of course find a reason to bring the Sanderson Sisters back but then they dont give them anything interesting to do. They literally spend around 20 minutes in a Walgreens making  jokes that feel like bad improv. I know they are goofy in the original but they were also scary and legit threats. Not any more. This movie’s idea for a joke is Mary rides 2 roombas instead of a broomstick. This is repeated multiple times and if that does it for you in the humor department I guess you’ve found your movie.

Disney has spent the last 20 years watering down nearly every villain in their canon and it’s no different here. Of course, we get the tragic backstory and their redemption arc. These women are huge money-makers for the studio so they aren’t going to have them pose an actual threat to the teens or be legitimately scary. That would actually require Disney to take a risk with their characters…

Izzy (Belissa Escobedo, far left), Becca (Whitney Peak) and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham) are friends and wannabe teen spellcasters in "Hocus Pocus 2."

 

I will give the movie credit that the 3 teen girls are a definite upgrade over the teens from the original film with Belissa Escobedo stealing the show (I have loved her in everything I’ve seen her in particularly the canceled too soon The Baker and the Beauty.) The script doesn’t give the teens much to do but I enjoyed their performances.

You get some fun songs (you know me and musical numbers!) but they are unevenly distributed through the movie and new cast-members like Hannah Waddingham and Tony Hale are barely used and not in an inspired way. I’ve honestly seen a lot of DCOMS that had more energy, humor and legit scares than what is offered here (try Don’t Look Under the Bed, Phantom of the Megaplex, Twitches, Halloweentown etc…) or give Tim Burton’s underrated Frankenweenie a watch. It has so much more to offer than this lounging around in Walgreens movie…

If you love the original Hocus Pocus you may love this. I have no idea but from my perspective there is very little story, the humor doesn’t work and the product placement is unpardonable. I guess you can say I continue to not fall under the spell of this franchise and the Sanderson Sisters…

4 out of 10

Frown Worthy

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Current Mini Reviews (Barbarian, See How They Run, Everybody Dance, Don’t Worry Darling)

Hey everyone! I’ve got a few films to update you with (I’m woefully behind on current releases because of my D23 trip but doing the best I can). Here goes!

Everybody Dance

This is a very sweet and endearing documentary about a dance studio outside of LA that teaches dance to all kids (the name is literally Ballet for ALL Kids). This includes children with both physical and mental disabilities. The director Dan Watt does a good job balancing the stories of the kids with the philosophy behind the studio ran by director Bonnie Schlachte. I appreciate the program and film don’t patronize the special needs kids but teach them dance just like any other children but with reasonable adaptations of course.

Everything all leads to the big recital and by then we have gotten to know a bunch of the kids and their families and feel triumphant with them at a successful recital. In a world where the arts and dance are often removed from students curriculum this film makes a good case for how important and vital they are for both able-bodied and special needs children. In that sense Everybody Dance has a beautiful and important message.

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy

See How They Run

One of my recent discoveries in my support of local theater this year is the play See How They Run which I saw in April at the Pleasant Grove Players and found it to be absolutely hilarious. The play is a classic of English theatre having been written by Philip King in 1944 and it is still performed today (there have actually been 3 local theaters putting it on this year).

With this experience fresh in my mind I was so excited when I heard a movie with the title See How They Run was coming out and just assumed it would be some kind of adaptation. Unfortunately that was not the case. I guess that was an unfair assumption for me to make as they didn’t claim it was an adaptation. It just had the same title.

Anyway, maybe my disappointment played a factor in my overall underwhelming response but if it had been charming I could have put that aside. While the cast and style of this film is impressive the story never grabbed me. It felt bland and the mystery wasn’t intriguing. To be frank I found it rather dull which this kind of mystery should never be!

4.5 out of 10

Frown Worthy

Barbarian

You all know I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to horror but I’m also trying to stretch myself and see films outside of my comfort zone. Such is the case with the latest horror movie Barbarian directed and written by Zach Cregger and starring Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgard and Justin Long.

The casting goes a long way to make this film work. Especially the male casting because Skarsgard and Long carry expectations with their performances. We expect Skarsgard to be scary. We expect Long to be kind. This makes their choices in the film extra surprising.

Campbell plays Tess a woman who rents an Airbnb in a shady neighborhood in Detroit only to find Skarsgard’s Keith is already staying at the house and there are all kinds of suspect things going on there.

I enjoyed Barbarian. It is surprising and let the audience figure out what it’s trying to say rather than preachier horrors of late like Black Christmas 2019. It uses jump scares effectively and is the right amount of weird/gory. If you are a horror wimp like I am you might actually have fun with it.

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Don’t Worry Darling

Don’t Worry Darling is definitely one of those films that has gotten a lot of attention during its festival run and mostly not in a good way. Whatever drama there was on set has dominated the conversation as well as lots of shenanigans at press conferences and various tiffs between the cast.

With all of that how’s the movie? I’d say it’s ok, worthy of a mild recommendation. Olivia Wilde directs this sci-fi thriller that dusts off the well-used premise of the seemingly perfect yet actually toxic suburban life.  One can’t help when watching this movie think of other films like The Stepford Wives, Edward Scissorhands and American Beauty.

That said, there was enough style and panache to the production I didn’t mind the derivative nature. Florence Pugh is terrific as housewife Alice and she has great chemistry with Harry Styles’ Jack (who is very charismatic in the role). Chris Pine and Gemma Chan are also good as the leaders of the perfect world (made me think of Wrinkle in Time and  The Giver among many other dystopians).

The ending has some holes and it’s not perfect but my friend and I had a fun discussion about each reveal after the movie was over so I left having had a good time. If you are taking it super seriously you probably will be frustrated. See it for the cracking performances and the great style and you’ll have a blast. (Also the soundtrack is smashing good!)

6 out of 10

Smile Worthy

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Blind Spot 81: Purple Rain

One of the fun things about doing this blind spot series is it forces me to sit down and watch movies I’ve heard about but just have never gotten around to seeing. 1984’s Purple Rain is such a film. Of course I know about its existence as one of the iconic rock feature films, and I knew about Prince’s music, but I had never seen the movie. Now I have seen the film and I can see why it was such a touchstone for both 80s music and music in film.

There isn’t a ton of plot to Purple Rain but what they do have is interwoven nicely into the music. The story is about a singer named The Kid played by Prince who comes from a troubled and abusive home and he is trying to make a name for himself playing at a club called The First Avenue Nightclub. The Kid has a huge ego and spars with the female members of his band and a rival band called The Time led by Morris Day. We also get a lot of relationship drama between The Kid and his girlfriend Apollonia (Apollonia Kotero). This film definitely earns its R rating with some pretty steamy scenes so not for the squeamish in that department.


There are long sequences of Prince singing along with Morris and the other bands. If you don’t like their music than this movie isn’t for you. The highlight is the “Purple Rain” number which is a song the girls in the band wrote showing The Kid is finally working with his band, not fighting against them.

There are some scenes in the film of domestic abuse both from The Kid’s father and from he towards Apollonia. It can be tough to watch and I don’t know if the redemption is enough to forgive such violent behavior, but they try to show the arc for both within the film. There is also a lot of cheesy scenes and over-the-top 80s fashion but that’s mostly part of the fun of it all. cor

If you haven’t seen Purple Rain I recommend it as a piece of 80s pop culture with some great music and corny romance. At the very least check out the soundtrack. It’s legendary!

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy


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[REVIEW] ‘Pinocchio’ 2022 or Can I Wish to Have Not Seen This Film?

Any fans of my writing know I am not the biggest fan of the Disney live action remakes. There are a few I like such as Pete’s Dragon and Mary Poppins Returns but for the most part they’ve been pale imitations of the beloved original films they are based off of. That said I do try to go into any film I watch with a positive outlook hoping for the best (and sometimes like with MPR I am pleasantly surprised). I say all of this because I want it to be clear that it gives me no joy to say Disney’s latest remake Pinocchio is the worst of these remakes and quite possibly one of the worst movies the studio has ever made. I really am struggling to find anything positive to say about it and only hope the Guillermo del Toro version coming in December will wipe this disaster out of my memory.

This version of Pinocchio is directed by Robert Zemeckis, and we should have gotten a clue of his remake skills with his recent disappointing adaptation of Witches but that feels outstanding compared to this. There are so many aspects I disliked that it’s almost hard to know where to begin but I will try:

First, the animation is awful. From one of the most beautiful animated films ever made it’s painful to have this version that looks like plastic with a shiny cheap CG aesthetic to everything. Every set piece especially Monstro looks like something from a Disney copycat studio in 2002 not from Disney itself in 2022. I expect much better from Disney these days. I hated all the character designs including Jiminy and Pinocchio. They looked like bad video game Kingdom Hearts characters not from a major feature film.

Pinocchio (2022) - IMDb

Next, Tom Hanks as Geppetto is a major problem. His acting is over-the-top and it is always obvious he isn’t working with real characters. This is surprising because he has done motion capture work before in The Polar Express. It’s hard for me to think of a more false and weak performance Hanks has ever given. The emotional sequences feel shouty and fake and there is no bond between his character and Pinocchio.

Pinocchio (2022) - IMDb

The script by Zemeckis and Chris Weitz is also extremely weak. Like many of these remakes they explain things that don’t need explaining and the additions they make are pure cringe. They add in a female puppet friend for Pinocchio that is strange because it’s played as a sentient character but it’s not so what is the puppeteer doing? Why is she invested in making a friend for Pinocchio? It’s strange.

We also get some terrible humor with at one point making a joke about Pinocchio’s name at least not being Chris Pine because he’s made of wood… That’s how bad the jokes are. There are strange choices like they make his nose getting longer purposeful to reach the keys instead of being a punishment for lying. They also make the kids in Pleasure Island drink rootbeer but still have them turned into donkeys, which seems like a strange punishment for drinking soda. There are so many choices like that which are just stupid!

Pinocchio'; The New Trailer & Poster Offer A Better Look At The Live-Action Disney Plus Movie | Screen-Connections

The Monstro sequences has Geppetto getting excited for Pinocchio who is waterskiing at the time. There’s no sense of tension or loss. No desperation just plucky weird looking Pinocchio having a good time. If it sounds like I am making this up: I wish I was.

The only thing I liked in this Pinocchio is Cynthia Erivo as the Blue Fairy. She’s a beautiful actress and her rendition of “When You Wish Upon a Star” is lovely. Luke Evans is so weird as The Coachman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is fine as Jiminy but that’s all I’ve got for positives. If you are jonesing for Pinocchio either wait for the GDT version or watch the original classic. Whatever this is, it’s a definite skip.

1 out of 10

Frown Worthy

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Current Mini Reviews (3000 Years of Longing, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, Acapulco)

Hey everyone! I hope you are doing well. I have been super busy as always so it’s time to update you on what I’ve been watching lately. Just 3 updates today but I would love to hear what you are watching and what you thought of these projects.

3000 Years of Longing

Because I have been so busy I went into this knowing basically nothing about it, except that it is directed by George Miller. He of course directed Mad Max Fury Road as well as Happy Feet (which is a super weird movie if you rewatch it. Particularly the last act of the film that moves away from the singing penguins).

I didn’t even know that 3000 Years is about a genie but unfortunately my lack of knowledge didn’t help me enjoy the film much. Sometimes being green does but not in this case. I was totally overwhelmed by the project and found it both uninteresting and bizarre at the same time.

The weirdest part about the the project is what it seems to be saying about love. Each story the genie (Idris Elba) tells Alithea (Tilda Swinton) tells revolves around some kind of servitude. One character is literally kept as a prisoner for her husband to rape while she uses her wishes to not be free but to learn, which is very strange. Even Alithea and the Genie’s relationship ends up being one of servitude and control. Does Miller believe love is some form of slavery? I don’t understand what the point of such a message is or how that is supposed to be empowering or moving as the tone of the film would imply.

I suppose some will enjoy 3000 Years of Longing on a visual level but it was all so joyless and strange that even that didn’t work for me. This is a definite pass.

3 out of 10

Frown Worthy

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

In my experience anime franchises are the hardest films to convince average moviegoers to give a chance, which is a shame because they often have a lot to offer in both storytelling, animation and characters. Such is the case with the latest Dragon Ball entry: Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.

Part of what sets this film apart is it focusing on some new characters: Gohan and Piccolo. We also get to dive into the Red Ribbon Army and its commanders Magenta and Carmine. These are younger, fun characters that teens will be able to easily relate with.

The animation is also a unique combination of the traditional 2D anime style with computer graphics to create a fluid and exciting action adventure. The music also adds a lot to the story and visuals.

There were parts of this film that dragged when the action stopped but if you’ve never seen a Dragon Ball entry this would be a good gateway into this vibrant anime franchise

6 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Acapulco

We all know there is enough gloom and doom in the world around us that we look for media to brighten our spirits with heart-warming stories. Such is what Apple Plus gave us with Ted Lasso but a smaller series from them is equally as crowd-pleasing: Acapulco.

This series stars Eugenio Derbez as Máximo a wealthy man telling his nephew about his early days working at a luxury resort in Acapulco. Young Máximo is played by Enrique Arrizon and he is just awkward enough to be charming. He immediately falls for the beautiful poetry-loving Julia played by Camila Perez.

The first season follows Máximo as he pursues Julia but also becomes more at home in the resort and seeks to help his mother out of poverty (and get a much needed pair of glasses).

If you are looking for a feel-good binge Acapulco is just the ticket. Don’t miss it.

8 out of 10

Smile Worthy

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Blind Spot 80: In the Heat of the Night

As a movie fan there are always those films you hear about, and know the big quotes from that you haven’t actually seen. The Best Picture winner In the Heat of the Night is one of those films. Of course, I have seen the iconic scene where Sidney Poitier’s character says “They call me Mr Tibbs” to Rod Steiger’s Sheriff Gillespie. With such memorable moments it really is an ideal film to pick for this Blind Spot series.

It’s funny this trailer makes In the Heat of the Night look like an action film, which it really isn’t. It has some police procedural moments but it is mostly characters sitting around a hot police station arguing. I know it is based off of a popular novel but it feels more like something from a play. It has that all set in one room quality of films like 12 Angry Men and Fences for long segments.

The story centers around Poitier’s Tibbs who is in Sparta, Mississippi when he is stopped by police to help with a murder investigation. Tibbs is a homicide investigator and the local police led by Steiger’s Gillespie aren’t trained in how to investigate such crimes. Of course being a powerful Black man in Mississippi in the 1960s is fraught with peril for Tibbs and he knows it (obviously, he’s a smart man so he knows to be afraid).

One of the most powerful and shocking scenes is when Tibbs is slapped by a man they are questioning named Endicott and he slaps him right back. Evidently Poitier insisted this be a part of the scene to director Norman Jewison and I’m glad they kept it in. It’s such an intense moment and when Endicott says “I could have had you shot for that” we all know he is right. It’s chilling.

My only real qualm with the film is the fighting back and forth between Gillespie and Tibbs starts to feel repetitive after a while. It could have benefited from a slightly tighter edit because some of those scenes aren’t teaching us anything new about the characters and start to lose their efficacy because we’ve seen them several times already.

Other than that, In the Heat of the Night is an extremely well directed and acted film. I appreciate it doesn’t try to have inspirational moments and keeps characters messy and complex. There are many scenes that still feel relevant today as we still struggle with police treatment of Black men and women. Poitier and Steiger are fantastic as well as all the supporting work. I can see why it won 5 Oscars. A classic.

8 out of 10

Smile worthy

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Current Mini Reviews (Bullet Train, Easter Sunday, Luck)

Hey everyone! I’m about to go on a big trip out to California but before I leave wanted to update the site with my thoughts on some new releases I’ve been watching.

Here we go!

Brad Pitt's 'Bullet Train' Box Office Opening Weekend Estimates - Variety

Bullet Train

I must admit seeing Bullet Train is outside of my comfort zone but I’ve liked violent action movies in the past. I enjoyed watching Logan this year for my blind spot series, and I liked The Protégé last year with Maggie Q. And this film has its moments particularly as it introduces us to its large assortment of characters all on the aforementioned bullet train.

Unfortunately as the story keeps going it gets more and more ludicrous until it loses credibility all together. For the action to be exciting it needs some stakes but here we have characters jumping on moving trains crashing through thick glass windows injury free and then surviving all kinds of attacks from guns, swords and knives. There are also train crashes and scenes where characters are hanging out of the train that are completely ridiculous. It was too much to the point it became tiresome.

The cast does what they can to elevate the material but there are so many characters that they all end up feeling underserved. It’s a film that feels more in love with itself than we as a viewer are entertained. I haven’t seen the John Wick franchise director David Leitch is famous for but this one gets a pass from me. (Bullet Train is extremely violent but done in a cartoonish way that makes it less shocking to the viewer)

4 out of 10

Frown Worthy

Easter Sunday' Review: Jo Koy in Slapdash Filipino-American Comedy | IndieWire

Easter Sunday

I am blessed to have a number of good Filipino friends, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know their culture over the years. Unfortunately, it’s a group we don’t see often portrayed in movies or television. It is for this reason I was looking forward to the new film Easter Sunday. Everyone deserves to see their culture in both comedies and dramas. I must admit I’m not overly familiar with Easter Sunday’s star Jo Koy’s comedy, but the trailers looked fun, and I was hoping for a Filipino version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding but at Easter.

Now I’ve seen the film I’d say it mostly succeeds. It’s not reinventing the wheel but as someone who comes from a big loud family I connected with Koy’s family. You can also tell he called in a lot of favors from his comic friends like Jimmy O Yang and Jay Chandrasekhar. Tiffany Haddish (who I don’t always love) steals the movie playing Koy’s ex, a cop named Vanessa.

I do think the family stuff in Easter Sunday works a lot better than the crime plot, which gets very silly the longer it goes. However, I laughed consistently throughout and the message of family is sweet and endearing. Take your family and have a good time laughing with this crazy Filipino bunch.

(Also many holiday films are released off of their holiday going all the way back to Miracle on 34th Street released in May of 1947).

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Luck Trailer: A Talking Cat, A Magic Penny, And Some Really Bad Luck

Luck

It’s always exciting when a new animated studio comes on the scene- especially one with such ambitious goals as Skydance Animation. I am aware many are less than thrilled by the studio’s chosen head of animation John Lasseter but animated films are made by 100s of people so I’m not going to be tougher on all of their work because of the behavior of one producer at his previous studio.

All that said, what do I think of Skydance’s first release Luck?… Well, to be honest it’s an average, watchable animated flick but not one I will remember or want to rewatch again.

Luck tells the story of an unlucky girl named Sam (Eva Noblezada who is also in Easter Sunday.) who winds up in the world of good and bad luck where she becomes friends with a snarky black cat named Bob (Simon Pegg).

What works best in the film is Sam’s backstory of living in foster care and her undying optimism that her friend Hazel will be adopted. The whole reason she goes into the world of luck is to try and help Hazel’s luck.

The animation is also nice in Luck, and I see potential for the studio going forward. Hopefully next time they will take more risk and tell a story we haven’t seen a million times. This is the problem with Luck: it feels so derivative. With everything from Inside Out, to Storks, to Wreck-it Ralph, to the Emoji Movie, to Soul, we’ve seen the animated dive into the magical worlds a lot and the world of good and bad luck doesn’t have anything new or surprising to entertain us.

In the end, I hope Skydance comes out with something more exciting and memorable for their next film. If you have Apple Plus Luck is fine, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it if you don’t.

(Strange this week have 2 movies about characters with very bad luck with this and Bullet Train...)

5.5 out of 10

Smile Worthy (barely)

Current Mini Reviews (Crawdads, 13 Lives, SuperPets, Vengeance)

Hi everyone! It’s time to catch up with new releases I’ve been watching. I wish I had time to write long reviews of all of these films but alas I do not. Let me know what you think of these films, and we can discuss more in the comments.

Here we go!

Where the Crawdads Sing

Where The Crawdads Sing: Release Date And Other Quick Things We Know About The Movie | Cinemablend

Knowing this film was coming out this summer I read the novel by Delia Owens and enjoyed it. Owens does a good job capturing the North Carolina marshes in the 1950s and creates a compelling character in Kya. Now in the film version director Olivia Newman captures those strengths of the novel. It’s beautifully shot and Daisy Edgar Jones is just what I pictured as Kya.

The movie leans more into the love triangle (Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson) than the book. It’s never really a doubt that she loves Tate most in the novel. Also Chase is more smarmy to begin with in the book and his murder trial is more of a focus.

Still, if you like romantic dramas you’ll enjoy Where the Crawdads Sing. It feels like a glossy version of what you might get on Lifetime channel but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Maybe an affection for the book helped but I definitely enjoyed this more than other critics

6.5 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Thirteen Lives: First look at Ron Howard movie filmed in Qld | The Courier Mail

Thirteen Lives

It’s always a weird thing when we get a feature film based on the documentary. I almost always prefer the documentary over the narrative film (see Won’t You Be My Neighbor). The latest offering is a remake of The Rescue about the 2018 boys cave rescue in Thailand called Thirteen Lives. Do I prefer the documentary? Absolutely. Is this a solid inspirational film? Yes it is.

Thirteen Lives is directed by Ron Howard and it’s full of impressive set pieces including everything that happens in the cave and the spectacle of the rescue. The cast is also solid with the likes of Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell and Joel Edgerton. My only problem with the cast is they are all a little too “movie starish” where the actual guys were underdogs who dove as a hobby and now their hobby everyone thought was weird is coming in handy.

Still, if you are looking for an inspirational watch this will do the job. It would be a great film to watch for family movie night and all be inspired together.

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Vengeance (2022) - IMDb

Vengeance

There are times when I watch a debut film from a celebrity and I can tell they called in all of the favors they could. That is the new film Vengeance from director B.J. Novak. And I don’t necessarily mean this is a bad thing. It’s just a little jarring to be watching a low budget indie and see Ashton Kutcher, Dove Cameron and other stars pop up.

Vengeance will probably be sold on its comedy when a lot of the teasing of Texas and its homespun ways in the film falls flat. However, the more dramatic parts dealing with Novak’s relationship with a former girlfriend who passes away and the podcast he wants to make works well. Most of the time podcasting is horribly portrayed in movies but this felt reasonably authentic for a show like This American Life or even Serial at times.

Novak’s character Ben is the right amount of likable while also being quite judgmental and selfish. This helps draw the audience in and keep the narrative surprising. Vengeance isn’t a great film but it’s a solid indie that shows promise for Novak’s writing and directing.

6 out of 10

DC League of Super-Pets' review: Lighter take of Justice League - Los Angeles Times

DC League of Super-Pets

There are 2 ways to look at this new film from Warner Animation: First, it’s a superhero parody film about the animals of superheroes, or second, it’s a cute movie about pets feeling insecure in their roles and hoping to be adopted. The second part succeeds a lot more than the first part.

In fairness the bar has been set pretty high these days in regards to superhero parody films. Movies like Teen Titans Go to the Movies, Lego Batman, Megamind, The Incredibles and even Deadpool poke fun at the comicbook movie tropes so successfully that you have to be really funny to make much of an imprint. Unfortunately, Super-Pets isn’t that funny, particularly the villain guinea pig Lulu (Kate McKinnon) is grating and bland.

All that said the parts with the animals particularly the dogs Krypto (Dwayne Johnson) and Ace (Kevin Heart) are sweet and work well. Krypto is Super-man’s dog (the movie starts off pretty dark for a kids film with Krypton being destroyed and baby Kal-El and Krypto being sent to earth) and he starts to get upset when Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde) comes into the picture.

This needy dog/toy dynamic has been done a lot but that’s because it’s a story that works and anyone can relate with. Kids and pet-owners will enjoy this aspect of Super-Pets and for that reason I give it a mild recommendation. The animation also has a sleek comicbook style to it I enjoyed.

My advice go see Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and then see this!

5.5 out of 10

Smile Worthy

 

So there you go. Have you seen any of these films? Let me know what you think! 

If you enjoy what I do please consider supporting at patreon where you can get tons of fun perks. https://www.patreon.com/hallmarkies

[REVIEW] ‘Nope’ or Jordan Peele’s Sci-fi Epic Gets a Nope From This Critic

Especially in the big blockbuster space we don’t get many original films these days. I enjoy a formula film as much as the next person but it is exciting when you have a filmmaker consistently putting out bold and exciting new movies and studios giving that filmmaker the money to make their projects. Jordan Peele is such a director and writer, which is why it is disappointing I didn’t enjoy his latest film Nope more. I think I actually prefer his last release Us, and I was mixed on that. However, the zombie home invasion part of Us was more fun than anything we get in Nope.

Nope tells the story of a family of Hollywood horse trainers, OJ and Em (Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer) who start experiencing supernatural events at their ranch in California. The film is told through the perspective of the horses including a horse that is part of a Western show named Lucky. This show is run by ex-child star Jupe Park (Steven Yeun) and is introduced as a major set piece for the story.

The film seems to be commenting on the history of Black artists in entertainment with repeated references to the first use of film being a Black man on a horse (the ancestor of Em and OJ). The problem is it doesn’t really do anything with that fact. What is it trying to say about representation and diversity? We know this problem exists so merely pointing it out isn’t very insightful.

Then we get a long segment with Jupe and his trauma on the set of a show he was in during the 80s. This is strange because there’s no payoff for this entire plot. Like seriously someone explain to me what the point was with the monkey? There’s also aliens and a set up with an alien show at the Western park that goes nowhere. We meet a young man who works for Fry’s Electronics named Angel (Brandon Perea) and his character doesn’t have much of an arc. Perea has some funny lines but that seems to be the only point of his character.

Jordan Peele's 'Nope' Projected to Debut to $50 Million - Variety

Palmer’s Em is the true protagonist of the film, but they move away from her for long stretches making it hard to be invested in her story.  Palmer and Kaluuya do have nice chemistry, and I believed them as brother and sister, but I wish the script had given them more to do than running around avoiding crazy weather.

The movie looks incredible with fantastic cinematography from Hoyte van Hoytema and the sound design is also very strong. Unfortunately, great technicals can only take you so far when the story is so unsatisfying.

I keep hearing people say this is ”Jaws in the air,” and I honestly have no idea what they are talking about. Jaws isn’t just about a creature that kills people. It’s about a whole town that ignores signs and what a few brave people finally do to stop the shark from killing people. In this the characters experience a creature, but there’s no plan to defeat it, no building up of tension, or group think to fight against. Most of the other humans are watching what is happening as spectators (literally paying to support Jupe and his alien show. No skeptics to be found) not actively fighting against the protagonists (or doing anything positive or negative to move events along) like the mayor and other townspeople do in Jaws. Like I said, it’s more a weather phenomenon movie like Twister than a creature scares movie. Have these people seen Jaws?

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Because the story was so scattered and the action so random Nope did not work as a sci-fi film and it certainly didn’t scare me like a horror movie should! When I left the theater I was meh on the movie, but the more I think about it the more glaring the problems are. It was slow, obtuse and plodding, wasting the strong work of the cinematographer and cast. You might say it’s a nope for me on Nope.

4 out of 10

Frown Worthy

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