Hey everyone! I hope you are all doing well. Today I have to play some catch-up on 2022 movies I saw but never got around to writing a review for. This is no statement on the quality of the films but more how busy I was watching Christmas and Oscar films. Make sure you check over on my youtube channel for all of my end of the year videos including best, worst, most disappointing of 2022 and my most anticipated of 2023.
All that said let’s get on to the mini-reviews
Little Nicholas: Happy as Can Be
2022 seems to be my year for absolutely adorable yet thoughtful animated films. It’s certainly the case for Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and this film out of France called Little Nicholas: Happy as Can Be. It is both really cute little stories about Little Nicholas (a popular character in France) and a rumination on the cartoon’s creators writer René Goscinny and cartoonist Jean-Jacques Sempé. We see the character interact with both the writer and artist and interact as they struggle to create the stories.
The film has something to say about friendship, a life’s work and what gives life meaning. It’s no surprise the film was written by Gosvinny’s daughter Anne because it feels like that kind of labor of love. Any animation fan will adore the simple sketch animation and appreciate getting a peak into an illustrator and writer’s process and the heart that goes into creating a character like Nicholas.
I don’t know how much of a rollout Little Nicholas will get but if it is playing near you I highly recommend it. One of my favorites of 2022
9 out of 10
Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody
I must admit I put off reviewing this movie because it really bummed me out. I love Whitney Houston’s singing and her death hit me harder than most celebrity deaths. The Bodyguard came out when I was 11 so a little too young for it as a movie but the soundtrack was some of the first pop music to impress me (along with the Beach Boys and Celine Dion.) I remember listening to her concert in Africa in 1994 and being blown away by her incredible voice.
Now we have this movie of her life (thankfully they kept Whitney’s singing because how could you replace her like they did with Judy Garland biopic). Naomi Ackie looked like Whitney more in the trailer than in the actual movie and everyone else is fine imitators such as Stanley Tucci playing Clive Davis but they can’t save the movie.
Some may say this is like a Lifetime biopic but honestly most of those are better than this. They had one last year on Mahalia Jackson that was actually quite good. This is as generic as it comes and the whole thing feels scrubbed clean as if it had a final edit by the family.
It’s just completely mediocre and not worth your time.
3 out of 10
Going into Spoiler Alert I must admit the romantic weepie is not my favorite brand of romantic films. Nevertheless, I can still recognize when they are done well and this one is. It is based on a memoir by writer Michael Ausiello and tells the story of his love with husband Kit Cowan who dies of cancer.
Jim Parson plays Ausiello and I think his nerdy energy was a good fit for the role. If there is anyone who can convincingly play a Smurfs collector and still be charming it is Parsons! He also has good chemistry with Ben Aldridge who plays Kit.
If you have seen a Nicholas Sparks weepie than that’s basically what you get here but like I said they have chemistry and the whole thing is endearing enough to work. Sally Field is really nice as Kit’s protective mother.
Spoiler Alert also definitely counts as a Christmas movie, which wins some points in my book. I’d say get out the tissues and enjoy this sweet, hopeful love story
6 out of 10
I don’t pretend to be an expert on tokusatsu cinema out of Japan but I have covered some Godzilla films for The Criterion Project and watched a few of the films. Recently director Shinji Higuchi came out with a film called Shin Godzilla to wide acclaim. Now he has released his version of Shin Ultraman which has also been around for many years.
Fortunately you Shin Ultraman stands alone and you don’t need to know any of the history in order to enjoy its fun campy take on a superhero movie. It centers on a group of Japanese bureaucrats who are trying to stop the aliens attacking their country. To their relief they get help from a giant alien called Ultraman but then the friendly creature takes a turn and they don’t know if they can control him.
I particularly enjoyed Hidetoshi Nishijima who was in last year’s Oscar contender Drive My Car. He plays the leader of the SSP (Species Suppression Protocol). The rest of the acting is a lot of fun especially the women who have a very unusual way of boosting their self esteem. The visual effects are campy and reminded me of a good episode of Doctor Who. If you like campy scifi monster movies you’ll have a great time with Shin Ultraman.
7 out of 10
So there you have it! Let me know what you think of these 4 films and what you have been watching.
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2 thoughts on “Current Mini Reviews (Little Nicholas, Shin Ultraman, Spoiler Alert, I Wanna Dance with Somebody)”
I’m a big fan of Goscinny’s Asterix series, but not familiar with his Little Nicholas character. I’ll havta check that out.
It’s such a sweet movie