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Movie Review: Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984Wonder Woman 1984 IMDB Link

Directed By: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Kristin Wiig, Pedro Pascal

My Rating:

While this is my first movie review of 2021, I did not see this movie in 2021. In fact we watched this film on New Years Eve, so technically I saw this movie last year. However since it was a movie we watched in the evening, I did not have time to write up a review before 2020 ended. I think we were all ready for 2020 to be over.

The year is 1984 (obviously, by the title) and Diana is still going about her day covertly rescuing people and stopping crime. Although it’s been 40 years, she still laments the death of Steve Trevor and seems to accept the fact that she will always be alone. She befriends Barbara Minerva, a socially awkward archeologist and anthropologist who finds a particularly powerful artifact. An artifact that grants wishes, but at a terrible cost. Now she must stop The Cheetah and Max Lord from abusing the power of this “dream stone”. 

Biggs’ Review

I am really surprised to find so many low and harsh reviews of this movie. I’ll admit it isn’t as good as the first movie but I, honestly, didn’t think it was terrible. There isn’t as much action but Chris Pine provides sufficient comic relief. I really enjoyed Pedro Pascal’s (aka The Mandalorian) performance as Max Lord. Actually, if I’m being honest, Kristin Wiig is an excellent villain. I’m used to seeing her in more comedic roles (ex: Bridesmaids) so when she becomes full on Cheetah, she looks pretty damn badass.

My harshest criticism would probably be the end. The tactic Wonder Woman uses to “defeat” Max Lord is a little corny. Granted Wonder Woman’s whole philosophy is built on the power of truth (hence the “Lasso of Truth”) so it fits the character. Unfortunately human kind is not so willing to embrace truth so its difficult to believe that she can easily convince the world to “renounce their wishes”. I’m also not really sold on the way in which Max Lord “touches” millions of people via a satellite broadcast. I feel like that whole scenario wasn’t entirely thought out.

Initially I wanted to give this movie 3.5 stars but the addon only supports whole numbers. Since I would consider watching this movie again I decided to go ahead and bump it up to 4 stars. I think Patty Jenkins did the best she could with the script she was given. I’m excited to see what she does for the Rogue Squadron movie; hopefully she will have better screenplay writers.

What did you think of Wonder Woman 1984?

film_reel“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
– Stanley Kubrick

 

Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr. BanksSaving Mr. Banks IMDB Link

Directed By: John Lee Hancock
StarringTom Hanks, Emma Thompson
Release Year: 2013

My Rating:

I realize this movie is 7 years old but nobody is really going to the theater right now so I might as well review something new I’ve watched. Perhaps others on the fence about this movie will finally reach their decision about whether or not to watch it.

Tom Hanks must be one of those actors that can be made to look like anybody. It’s an uncanny transformation to be able to go from Fred Rogers to Walt Disney. Personally I think his portrayal as Fred Rogers is nearly spot on, while he mostly just nailed the look and mannerisms of Walt Disney. He never actually sounds like Disney, however, that is not a deterrent in this film.

Brief Synopsis and Biggs’ Review

This movie is based on true events about the adaptation of Mary Poppins to film. Walt Disney has been pursuing the rights to produce Mary Poppins for 20 years but the author, P. L. Travers, refuses to give them up. Finally, in 1961, she agrees to travel to Los Angeles to oversee the adaptation of the film. However, she is not very forthcoming and really pushes Walt Disney to his wits end.

Maybe its my love for Mary Poppins but I really enjoyed this movie. Based on some of the reading I’ve done, the events in this movie, for the most part, are historically accurate. They took a few poetic liberties, but since they had the actual tapes of her and one of the Sherman brothers, you know they couldn’t bend the truth too much. I love how they incorporated some of the real life Disney culture into the film, such as the “man is in the forest” phrase animators would say when they heard Disney approaching.

There isn’t a lot of humor in this, it’s pretty much your typical heart-strings drama however it gave me an immense amount of nostalgia. I doubt the real P.L. Travers would ever approve of this film but it’s really interesting to see the story of this beloved Disney classic was, almost, never made.

I definitely recommend this movie, especially if you are a Disney fan and/or love Mary Poppins.

film_reel“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
– Stanley Kubrick

 

Trolls World Tour Review

Movie Review: Trolls World Tour

Trolls World Tour ReviewTrolls World Tour

Directed By: Walt Dohrn
StarringAnna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake

My Rating:

This is one of the first films to go straight to a streaming release instead of theaters due to the coronavirus pandemic. Coincidentally the movie studio made quite a bit of money. The films digital success was even discussed on the morning news. The numbers indicate that the movie studio probably made more money because of the digital release than they might have from a theatrical release. I doubt that dooms theaters … at least I hope not.

Be that as it may, the film itself was just OK. Most of the original cast reprise their roles, except Jeffrey Tambor as King Peppy. We rented it for my daughter’s birthday because she really likes Trolls. There are points in the film where you wonder if it was made while under the influence of illicit substances. Perhaps the same kind used when making the “Charlie, the Unicorn” videos. (At least the Charlie videos were funny).

It ends in the same old “love conquers all” sappy crap however I feel like the movie uses music as a metaphor. Everyone likes different kinds of music and no one particular genre of music should be eliminated. The movie makes the point that we should all respect each other no matter which music we listen to. Granted I don’t know if the metaphor is intentional but considering all the divisiveness in the world today, I think the same rule applies.

I watched it for my daughter, but I’m not in a hurry to see it again.

film_reel“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
– Stanley Kubrick

 

Movie Review: Onward

Movie Review of OnwardOnward

Directed By: Dan Scanlon
StarringTom Holland, Chris Pratt

My Rating:

A side effect of these extraordinary times is the early digital release of new movies. The latest Disney film became available on Disney+ after only a month in theaters. While nothing will compare to the theater experience, it’s nice to be able to see new movies during quarantine. Keep in mind, not all movies will be free with a subscription to a streaming service. Another obvious perk to Disney+. Here is my movie review of Onward.

Brief Synopsis

Spiderman (Tom Holland) and Starlord (Chris Pratt) team up for this typical Disney “feel good” film. Ian (Holland) and Barley (Pratt) Lightfoot are eleven brothers who lost their father to illness. Upon Ian’s 16th birthday their late father prepared an extraordinary gift. He was a wizard before the world forgot about magic, and he has a spell that can bring him back for one day. Now the brothers must embark on an amazing journey to complete the spell that will “complete” their father’s gift.

Biggs’ Review

Onward is not just about the family bond, but sibling bond. As I already said, this is your typical heartwarming animated film, but it’s quite enjoyable. The most entertaining element about this film is visualizing Chris Pratt performing his lines while recording them. In fact I even went out to see if there are any YouTube videos of Chris and Tom in the recording booth (FYI, there are). At any rate, as a gamer of, primarily fantasy video games, I can easily identify with Barley. However, there is more about this film that kind of hit home.

Barley is the older but nerdy sibling; while Ian is more down to earth, but not really a popular kid in school. While Barley is comfortable embracing his nerdy personality, Ian struggles to be accepted and often feels embarrassed by his brother. I have a younger sister who may have struggled with an older brother that loved Star Wars, reading books, collecting comic books, playing video games and embracing the geek life.

So watching Ian and Barley discover that special sibling bond felt very real to me. It will pull on those heart strings. This movie is definitely worth watching, especially if you have siblings.

(Click here to read my other reviews)

film_reel“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
– Stanley Kubrick

 

Movie Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Directed By: Marielle Heller
StarringTom Hanks, Matthew Rhys
Release Date: November 22, 2019

My Rating:

I know this movie isn’t exactly a recent release; last November in fact. However a movie about someone as iconic as Mr Rogers cannot go without commenting. The man defined an entire generation; my generation. The trailer for this film had me choked up with nostalgia and Tom Hanks seemed like the perfect cast.

And he was! However, this movie isn’t actually about Fred Rogers, its about the man writing a profile on Mr. Rogers; Lloyd Vogel. This movie is a true story.

It’s Not About Fred

As I mentioned, this movie isn’t actually about Mr. Rogers. Lloyd Vogel is the character name that represents the actual writer, Tom Junod. Lloyd has a reputation for writing rather scathing exposes for Esquire magazine. He also has a very hostile relationship with is father (for reasons that are explained in the movie). When he is given an assignment to write a profile on Mr. Rogers, his perspective is completely changed. It’s all thanks to Mr. Rogers.

This movie is so amazing and very respectful to Mr. Rogers. It reinforces that Mr. Rogers is the same person on and off the screen. Every time there is a location change, a scaled down model of the location is used (just like they did in Mr. Rogers Neighborhood). That is easily one of the best features of the film. After reading some of the trivia about this film (which I often do for lots of movies) one of the interesting facts I read is that the studio spent a lot of time (and money) getting the film as accurate as possible.

The writers said the film took so long to be made because they worked with the estate tirelessly to ensure the accuracy of the film. They were given access to the archives to ensure it was “right”.IMDB

“Such a Good Feeling”

I especially like the scene where Mr. Rogers is on the subway and the whole subway car sings “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”; I would have joined in the chorus had I been there too. This movie will leave you with “such a good feeling” by the end. By the way, if you have Amazon Prime, you can watch old episodes of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood; my daughter has already watched a few. If you grew up with this man in your living room, you need to see this film!

film_reel“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
– Stanley Kubrick

 

Movie Review: Avengers Endgame

Avengers Endgame

Avengers: Endgame

Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo

My Rating:

Despite the looming “Superhero Burnout“, this movie is crushing it at the box office. It is already breaking the same records The Force Awakens broke four years ago. I fully expect this film to continue to break records set by Star Wars, including top grossing movie of all time in the domestic box office. Honestly, I’m glad it’s a Marvel movie too.

In the spirit of the #DontSpoilTheEndgame trend, this is a SPOILER FREE movie review, however if you have not seen Infinity War yet, then consider this your **spoiler alert**!! It is impossible to talk about this movie without talking about the events of the previous film.

Half of the living things in the universe, including half the Avengers, are gone; wiped out with a single snap. Thanos has vanished to bask in the balance he has created. Meanwhile the remaining Avengers are trying to piece the world back together and move on. However “moving on” will not be something they are willing to do, especially when Scott Lang shows up with an idea.

Biggs’ Review

This is a pretty amazing movie, though I do have one particular complaint, which I will get to shortly. This movie has quite a few epic moments, one of which I know many fans have been waiting for since Age of Ultron. I will not say what that is so as to remain spoiler free but I think you will know it when you see it, and deem it “worthy”. This movie is quite the finale for the Avengers Initiative. One of my favorite parts happens during and end credit montage. This is not a spoiler. The signatures of Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner are shown as if to signify the signing of their magnum opus. This is such a fitting tribute.

Is This The Best Movie I’ve Seen?

No, not by a long shot. In all fairness I almost gave this movie 4 stars. There is a particular plot mechanic that is rarely done well and Bruce Banner’s rationale is pretty insufficient, in my opinion. There is also a “passing of the torch” moment which does not particularly coincide with canon (at least from what I’ve read); however, it is still pretty cool. Be that as it may, the way in which they wrap up the story’s of a few of the character’s is brilliant and well done … and emotional. After the movie ended, my first instinct was not to see it again; at least not right away. The main reason being the 3 hour run time. Actually I feel more inclined to watch all the other movies again!

This movie is a magnum opus and truly a fitting end of the past 11 years and 21 movies. The feeling I had leaving this movie will probably be much the same feeling I will have leaving The Rise of Skywalker. A sense of emotional finality; these are characters that not just defined our lives, but a generation. Watching these events come to an end feels akin to a graduation or major life milestone. The events and the people of the years prior make up the journey we all had to take. Sometimes the end is hard because we endured so much to get here, but we grew along the way. We form bonds and relationships with people, real or fictional. It’s the journey that’s worth celebrating at the end but it’s also what makes it difficult. After all, part of the journey is the end.

#ThankYouAvengers

film_reel“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
– Stanley Kubrick

 

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