Category Archives: Movie Reviews

‘Mulan’ And All of Its Flaws

Mulan is now available free of charge to all Disney+ streamers and so I thought it would be the perfect time to revisit the film after my second viewing yesterday (I was one of those people who paid $30 to see it early) and share my thoughts with you all.

In short, as a little girl, Mulan was my favorite Disney princess. She was brave and fierce, qualities in which inspired and wowed me. When I heard they were doing a live-action version I couldn’t be more excited, especially when they chose to forego songs to make it a more epic experience. I was like, “Heck yeah, let’s do this!”

And yet now, after a few viewings, I only see the flaws in Mulan instead of the good and boy are there a lot of flaws. So, let’s get to them.

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‘Luca’ Is Soooo Cute!

Disney/Pixar never fails to deliver a great movie that leaves me weeping profusely. The same can be said about Luca; a relatively mediocre story that doesn’t feel as original as masterpieces like Soul or Up and yet its beautiful animation and profound sweetness was ultimately rather heartwarming.

Luca feels like the boy-version of The Little Mermaid as it tells the story of a headstrong “sea monster” kid who’s willing to defy his parents to see the human world. He meets best friend, Alberto, and together they go on a cute but grand adventure.

Luca | Disney Movies

The film has a classic twist three-fourths of the way into the film that transforms the movie from fun and airy to a bit depressing and got me all teary. By the end, I couldn’t stop the thin rivers pouring from my eyes.

The recent animated movies under Disney and Pixar have been profound in their messaging and Luca subtly (but not so subtly) provides a beautiful message for the LGBTQ+ community about identity and pride of being oneself. Now I’m starting to understand why this movie was released in June. (I see you Disney.)

Ultimately I thought Luca was a gorgeously animated, truly touching film that I highly recommend if you have a Disney+ subscription.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a spectacular day.

‘In The Heights’ Is a Disappointment

When I first saw the trailer for In The Heights last year I watched 30 seconds and wasn’t interested. When I learned it was Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first major and critically-acclaimed Broadway play I was super excited to see this film adaptation of this movie. And so I did…and it did not make me happy.

As an avid musical fan, I know how great a musical can be. I’ve seen the likes of An American in Paris, The Sound of Music, and Singin’ In the Rain, and they were magnificent! But I also understand that musicals are some of the hardest films to make.

They’ve recently begun to surge back into the cinema with recent hits like The Greatest Showman and multi-Oscar winning La La Land and now this year we’re getting two musicals; In The Heights and West Side Story.

In The Heights movie review & film summary (2021) | Roger Ebert

In The Heights, directed by John M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians), is basically a latino version of Do The Right Thing. The story takes place in Washington Heights at the height of summer and it follows a few characters who are simply trying to make their dreams come true. It sounds like a decent plot for an inspiring musical but it was overshadowed by a weak remake of a Broadway play.

Like Hamilton, there is a lot of singing! I mean, a lot. But while the singing helped move the story along for the critically-acclaimed Broadway play about our country’s fore fathers in a movie that much singing just feels like a bunch of nonsensical noise. I wanted to get invested in the characters but the first hour lost my interest completely.

To try to seem like an epic musical there were bunch of unnecessarily huge musical numbers with a bunch of dancers that just felt out of place. When a couple of characters in love are singing about how they want to be together you don’t want to see twenty people dancing happily around them. It’s distracting.

None of the songs were memorable, the lyrics were boring, and there was nothing truly rewarding about this movie. The only part that made me smile and want to dance was a sequence when the characters went to a club. Now that part was fun. Oh, and a little moment with Miranda playing the part of a beloved popsicle man and his brief moment to shine. But besides that, I was annoyed by something I couldn’t get a chance to enjoy.

I wish I could say In the Heights is the best movie of the year so far but unfortunately, I can’t.

Now I’m just hoping Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is more enjoyable.

I’ll give this movie 70 out of 100 and 2 out of 5 stars.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a fantastic day.

‘Cruella’ After a Second viewing

Last Friday I watched Cruella for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. No the movie wasn’t perfect but it was far more enjoyable than the likes of Mulan, both Maleficent films, and even Cinderella.

Because I liked it so much I decided to watch it again yesterday to see if its enjoyment would hold up and sure enough, it did.

You know those movies that aren’t particularly great stories but are super rewatchable. Cruella is one of those movies.

It’s a classic Disney story with no real authenticity, the writer’s timidity on making Cruella truly evil is a bit frustrating, and yes, the CGI is awful, but ultimately it might become the live-action Disney movie I’ll watch the most.

Cruella is the New Miranda Priestly - The New York Times

So what is it that makes Cruella so magnetic? Simple. The characters.

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‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’ Made Me Cry a Lot

How To Train Your Dragon is a film that my parents took me to see eleven years ago in theaters. I remember enjoying it. Since then I’ve watched that film only one other time and I vaguely saw How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. My sister, however, had seen How To Train Your Dragon 2 and I remembered her telling me how good it was so yesterday I finally decided to watch it.

Oh my goodness, I’m glad I did.

10 Things Parents Should Know About How to Train Your Dragon 2 - GeekDad

How To Train Your Dragon 2, in my opinion, is far superior to the first movie in scope, storytelling, and sheer brilliance. I was sucked into this Nordic world of Vikings and dragons that took me on an emotional rollercoaster that didn’t seem to end.

The surprise early into the film left me reeling and from that point on…well, I just couldn’t stop crying.

The only negative thing I have to say about this movie was that when a crucial plot point happens toward the end of the film, the writers seemed to turn on the accelerator and sped toward the movie’s conclusion at breackneck speed which was a bit jarring after the film so elegantly and carefully handled the rest of the story. But overall, I was blown away by this film that just continued to hit me blow after blow with its emotional storyline and whoop-inducing action sequences.

I’ll give it 95 out of 100 and 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was almost perfect and undoubtedly one of the best sequels I have ever seen. (It blew Frozen II out of the water!)

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a tremendous day.

‘Cruella’ Is Delightfully Delicious

Disney, as you very well know, has decided in the last decade to recreate (or simply elaborate) on a bunch of classic Disney stories that needed a modern revamp. And so we’ve gotten our fill of live-action Disney stories that have ranged from surprisingly entertaining to downright underwhelming (Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Mary Poppins Returns, and Mulan). Now, arrives their latest movie to join this long list, Cruella, and it is near perfect, darling.

Glenn Close Owns All the Cruella De Vil Costumes From '101 Dalmatians'

Cruella de Vil is easily, in my opinion, the evilest villain in all of Disney thanks to her shocking mission to kill a hundred Dalmatian puppies and turn them into a coat in the 101 Dalmatians. She takes the idea of mean and cruel to the next level.

So how was Disney, the Mickey Mouse brand, going to make a movie about this woman’s origin story? It turns out Cruella is practically Cinderella, with a villainous flair.

Continue reading ‘Cruella’ Is Delightfully Delicious