Hey everyone! I would love to write full reviews of every movie I see, especially these prestige films, but there is only so much time. So, now we have one of my mini-review post to catch up with all the fun films I’ve been watching (for TV movies check out my weekly recaps and all my content at Hallmarkies Podcast.
So here goes:
I have long loved the musical Annie. It has such a positive energy, a delicious villain in Miss Hannigan and songs that are fun to belt out. However, I did not care for the recent movie version from 2014 at all. They made the songs bland and had one of the worst performances in recent memory by Cameron Diaz. With this in mind I was delighted to see Annie Live! was being performed on NBC and now that I’ve seen it I can say I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’ve enjoyed most of these live musicals (not much of a shocker if you know me) but I think this is one of the best. Aside from a bad bald cap on Harry Connick Jr it all went off without a hitch. Taraji P Henson was fantastic as Miss Hannigan and young Celina Smith shines as Annie. If you like musicals you won’t want to miss this delightful production.
8 out of 10
Last Night in Soho
Now we take a hard left to Edgar Wright’s latest film Last Night in Soho which is billed as a psychotic thriller but in my opinion it had a lot more psychotic than thrills. It seems like the world-at-large enjoys this more than I did and I suppose it looks impressive but the plot made no sense. It felt like Wright was flinging stuff at the screen without any idea of telling a coherent story. I was exhausted after about 30 minutes and it is almost 2 hours long. It’s none of the actors fault but it definitely wasn’t for me.
3 out of 10
The Power of the Dog
Next up we have the new western from Jane Campion called The Power of the Dog. This stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a ruthless cowboy who resents the addition of Kirsten Dunst’s Rose and her son Peter played by Kodi Smit-McPhee into their home on the prairie. After a while he becomes fascinated with Peter and seeks to train him in the ways of being a cowboy.
The Power of the Dog is impressive with great performances, beautiful cinematography and a compelling script. It’s all a bit cynical for my taste but I can’t deny that it is all very well done. If you like westerns you should definitely see it.
7.5 out of 10
Being the Ricardos
Over the last few years there always seems to be a bio-pic that gets a lot of love that I find completely mediocre. Last year it was Judy and this year it is Being the Ricardos. This one has the advantage of being written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. I am not now nor have ever been a member of the Sorkin hive. I respect much of his work but I have also often found his characters suffer in the wake of all that snappy dialogue he loves so much. That is certainly the case here but I actually found his script for this film to be very sloppy and poorly done.
The script for Being the Ricardos can’t decide what it wants to be. Is it about Lucille Ball being investigated for being a communist? Is it about her crumbling marriage? Is it about the writers room and an episode they are focusing on? Is it about Vivian and her weight struggles? I have no idea. All these ideas are brought up but not explored in a satisfying way. It also didn’t help that Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem look nothing like Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
I am sure this will get tons of awards love but not from me. I was thoroughly underwhelmed by it.
3 out of 10
A Boy Called Christmas
Everyone knows I watch a lot of Christmas movies each year but most of them are not feature films. A Boy Called Christmas is an exception to that rule and it turns out to be a really fun and engaging holiday fantasy adventure.
Made in the UK (available for us to watch on Netflix) this film tells the story of a young boy who is trying to find his father who became lost searching for the mythical Elfhelm village. Along the way he meets all kinds of creatures, pixies, and elves.
A Boy Called Christmas has an incredible cast including Jim Broadbent, Sally Hawkins and Maggie Smith. It’s a little slow at points but most fantasy movies are. If you are looking for some Christmas magic this season it’s a great pick
7 out of 10
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