Summary: The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more as Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron’s journey continues. With the power and knowledge of generations behind them, the final battle commences.
Cast and Characters. Obviously, we have a ton of returning characters but I’m not going to hit them all. I’m really only going to focus on the ones we spend the movie with because they’re who we’ve become acquainted with. Carrie Fisher passed before the filming of this movie so while Leia is still here, it’s through repurposed unreleased footage from TFA. But she’s great.
Daisy Ridley as Rey. She is a scavenger from Jakku. Where we find her in this movie, she is training, to become better etc. Once they get a lead on how they could defeat The First Order, she goes on a series of quests with Finn and Poe. Throughout the film, we see Rey continue to struggle with her who she is, where she comes from. This film ultimately deals with her identity. We get to see this struggle throughout the film and Daisy Ridley does a great job at portraying the various states of emotions Rey finds herself going through. I think she really shines in the third act of the film because she’s emotional and it almost seems uncontrollable at times. I like Rey, I think she’s interesting and finding out her lineage was interesting and I like how they first showed us confirmation on that. This whole “Mary Sue” thing I see online about her, I think is stupid. For one, if Rey is a Mary Sue then so was Luke Skywalker. Sure, she’s good at a lot of things but considering how she had to survive on her own for her entire life, it makes sense she makes sure she’s great at things. Anyway, I just wanted to say that lol.
John Boyega as Finn. He is a former stormtrooper who defected to the Resistance. This is probably the most I’ve liked him in the trilogy which is a shame because I find John Boyega very charismatic and likable. In this one, he’s come into his own as being part of the Resistance, he’s brave and willing to do what he needs to do in order to protect his friends and the world. It’s no longer a “every man for himself” kind of thing. Throughout the film, there’s something he’s been trying to tell Rey and spoiler alert, he never gets to tell her and I think he wanted to tell her he’s Force Sensitive which is something we as the audience already knows from the first film. I would assume that Rey would know considering she’s a Jedi.
Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron. He’s my favorite lol and it’s not just because I adore Oscar Isaac, which is a major part of it but I liked him since his first sequence in the first film lol. He is a high-ranking X-wing fighter pilot and commander of the Resistance. Poe went through a lot last movie and I think he really comes full circle in this one, because he’s not as arrogant as he was about knowing what’s best for everyone (like in TLJ), I mean he’s still a little arrogant lol, but not in the same way. His lesson is leadership and feeling like he’s earned the roles given to him by Leia. I think is probably my favorite version of Poe as well, just because he gets to be lighthearted and sassy which works for his character. I love Oscar Isaac. That’s it lol.
Adam Driver as Ben Solo / Kylo Ren. He is the Supreme Leader of the First Order. Born as Ben Solo, he is the son of Leia Organa and Han Solo, the nephew of Luke Skywalker and grandson of Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader. His role in this one is very different than we’ve seen in the past. I feel like he wasn’t as prominent in this one but perhaps that was the point. Just like Rey, he’s going through a lot emotionally as well, identity and all that. But that’s all because I can’t get into it without spoiling things. But Adam Driver is great in this role, this is probably the most I’ve liked him as well. I thought he was interesting but I can’t say I liked him or anything before. But I liked what we see out of him here.
Character Chemistry. This is always important when you have characters who spend a lot of time together. It’s important they work well together, if the chemistry is off, you can tell. Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and John Boyega work really well together and I’ll get into this in the cons as well, but the moments we get to see them working together, or when they have a moment to go back and forth, are moments I really enjoyed. I wish we got more of that to really establish their friendship.
Some Interesting Character Arcs. This is particularly for Rey, Poe and Kylo. Being that the trilogy has been about Rey and Kylo, it makes sense that their arcs parallel each other. I think they’re done well. As I said, Rey has identity issues she has to work through and I think that’s handled pretty well. Same with Kylo, they’ve built up his issues since the first film and he really gets his chance for that to come full circle. As for Poe, he’s dealing with the whole being a leader thing, leading people and all that. I think though, that mostly because a struggle towards the end. But I like those arcs though. As for Finn, I think his arc was handled before this movie because he seems really competent and confident here. So that’s a win.
Visual Effects Are Amazing. Y’all this movie is amazing in how a lot of the effects are handled. There is this great shot of them standing over rushing dark waters and that was some beautiful technology right there. Not to mention, the fight between Rey and Kylo while on that water, also pretty dope. Then, at the end, there is a shot of Rey walking between these two giant black walls and you see this blue light flashing. It was amazing. Technically, this movie has a lot going for it. The opening sequence with Poe, Finn and Chewie on The Falcon was awesome! I mean, I was really into it from the beginning.
Weak Storytelling. Listen, I feel like nothing happened in this movie lol until we got to the last act. I just remember thinking “what is the point of this and this and this?” because when we got to the end, some of it didn’t seem as important or that we didn’t need it. Maybe it’s because I didn’t feel any tension? *thinking face* They just jumped from place to place with mini quests and don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but the real meat comes at the end. Everything else felt frivolous. I wonder if that’s because Rain Johnson deviated a lot from what JJ Abrams wanted to do? I mean, I don’t know what the full plan was but The Last Jedi feels out of place with The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker. So maybe that’s part of the problem, JJ was trying to correct some wrongs.
Main Three Friendship. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the chemistry between the main three, just like I said in the “pros”. But my big problem is that I feel shafted in their time together. When Poe and Finn get back to wherever the Resistance is and the three have this moment where they go back and forth, particularly Poe and Rey arguing about The Falcon and BB-8. It was cute and I laughed but then we don’t really get to see Rey and Poe connect again. I really like their dynamic, even if viewers wanted romance between all three or two of the three, which is fine, but I feel like the movies never quite established how close they are to even earn their big hug. I get more out of their friendship in fanfiction then I have in the films.
Plot Twist Reveals/No Tension. This is big big spoilers so I can’t go into it though I’m sure people have already figured it out, but while the reveal is cool, the way it’s gone about is really lame. Again, I’m sure part of it has to do with the fact that the second movie feels out of place because I feel like the reveal happens so fast, that it fizzles when it should ignite. I mean, it’s cool to watch everything come to a head at the end, but again there’s no tension! I don’t feel any tension! Plus the stuff with Kylo at the end, it’s just… I mean, again, I don’t know everything about SW but some stuff feels like it was either added/changed at the last minute or it was just… bleh. It’s really frustrating now that I think about it.
Overall, I enjoyed myself and I think I enjoyed this one out of the sequel trilogy the most. I don’t know why but I did lol. I continue to like Rey, Finn and Poe but I like them the most here. It seems like there was a bit more fun to be had and whenever they got to work off each other, they did it really well. The use of sound in this movie is great, between the score and how they combine the score with sound effects to add tension in later scenes. This movie has fantastic visual effects, I particularly like the shots with the moving water. There are some interesting character arcs going on in the movie, particularly for Kylo, Rey and Poe. I feel like Finn completed his arc before this movie but after TLJ lol. I’m a casual Star Wars fan, so I feel like this movie does a pretty good job at closing the Skywalker story. I mean, I sure there’s a ton left to do but I don’t think I’d be disappointed if they didn’t include anyone else related to the Skywalkers. Unless it’s Poe. I want more Poe content. He has a comic series, let’s do a spin off series lol. Now, I do think the storytelling element is pretty weak in the film, it just feels monotonous until the end and I feel shafted out of seeing a true and fleshed out friendship between Rey, Poe and Finn. I also think there isn’t much tension when there should be. There’s some big important stuff that is revealed and I think if it was handled better and not just thrown away, it would have landed harder in this film. I think that’s the issue you face when you have a trilogy done by two different directors. Everyone doesn’t have the same vision. Anyways, I don’t think The Rise of Skywalker is horrible, I quite liked it. It’s a good adventure to spend your time watching.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker? If so, what are your thoughts? If you have a dissertation to write, please, feel free. I’d love to hear thoughts, especially from viewers who are more than casual Star Wars fans. Let me know in the comments.
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Summary: A couple’s first date takes an unexpected turn when a police officer pulls them over.
Cast and Characters. So, we never actually learn the two leads names until the end of the film. They’re never actually called “Queen” and “Slim” either. So, head’s up lol. There are other characters and actors in this film but I’m just going to highlight the two leads because we spend the movie with them.
Daniel Kaluuya as “Slim”. He’s a cool guy, he took her on a date to this little diner he loves. He clearly loves his family and he’s laid back compared to her. He also seems to have a different outlook on things compared other guys we might see on television. Throughout the film, we get to see him grow in taking control of a situation and not just nodding his head in agreement. He was always strong but we really see him grow into his strength by the end. I really like Daniel Kaluuya, he’s such a likable guy, he’s so handsome and charming that he charmed me in this movie. I like his emotional moments because he’s just so damn good at it.
Jodie Turner-Smith as “Queen”. I think this is her first major film and I wasn’t sure for a while if I liked her acting but she grew on me as the movie went on. At first, she’s really cold, she’s a lawyer and experienced a hard court case so she just wanted company and reached out to Slim on Tinder lol. She’s very straight forward, says what she thinks, no holds barred. But it’s because of this that gets them into a little trouble. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of personality but I feel like she could have read the situation better lol. But for her first major role, I thought she did well. I liked her chemistry with Daniel Kaluuya and I would be interested in seeing her act in future films. She’s also beautiful, her skin… flawless lol.
Black Love Story. Take it as you will when you watch the film but over the course of this movie, these two characters grow closer and a love does form between them. I can’t get into it too much otherwise it’s spoiler territory, but Kaluuya and Turner-Smith had great chemistry, even when they weren’t getting along earlier in the film. What happened between them felt like a natural progression. Sure, it was like a few days or a week, but I think it’s possible to build a relationship with someone you’ve experienced danger and trauma with. While the situation is dark and dire, I liked their quiet moments. Like her hanging out of the window, or the scene with the horses. They had great conversations, deep ones and they expressed real feelings to each other that they called back to at the end. I just… man it was beautiful. I thought it was really well depicted. They didn’t try to fix each other. I’ll leave the rest of it up to your interpretation.
Emotional. Due to the nature of the film, I think this film is very emotional in different ways. I can imagine you going through different feels while watching. When you first meet these people, you’ll probably like Slim and dislike Queen and you’ll probably dislike her for a majority of the movie. Then you’ll feel worry when they get pulled over by a cop. You’ll feel anger, you might understand where different people with different views on the situation is coming from. You’ll experience so many emotions that it’s not even funny, unless you’re made from stone. Also, the ending had me in tears.
Interesting Story/Unique Script. The script is very well written, I was so interested to see where they would end up. If they would win in the end or if they would lose. I like how real they both felt and how they didn’t start off the best but had to learn to trust each other and grow to feel what they feel towards each other. Not to mention, just how relevant their interaction with the police officer was. Sure, say what you want about them becoming fugitives but I understand that they felt it was the only way. Not to mention, they encountered people who agreed with them and those who felt what they did was wrong. I liked that you got both perspectives.
The Ending. I have a lot of feelings about this. I like it and I hate it lol. I knew it was going to happen but I feel like it was overly dramatic and I can’t go into it without spoiling it so. Just know I liked it but I hate it.
Queen’s Character… sometimes. I think her character is very unlikable in a lot of ways. I found myself disliking her but as the movie went on, I grew to like her. I think the way she starts out, being kind of dismissive of Slim and then how she just does or says things that’s like “girl, shut up”. I get it, you’re trying to speak up for his rights and what not but it ends up feeling like it’s her fault. I didn’t like that it comes off that way. I just felt a little weird about it.
Protest Sequence. After Queen and Slim meet this father and his son at the repair shop, they talk to the son who felt moved by the video of their interaction with the cop. He tells them about a protest their small town was going to have. So, we get to see this protest and sure, protest away, but I felt like that scene coupled with the other scene that’s shown with that scene was weird. Without spoiling, I don’t like when movies couple scenes like the one in the car with active scenes… if that makes sense. The first season of HTGAWM did that and I hated it. Plus, the way the protest scene ended I felt was just… too much. It was shock value and I get the reasoning but I feel like if that protest scene was cut, nothing would have changed.
The Ending. I have a lot of feelings about this. I like it and I hate it lol. That’s all I can say without spoiling it.
Overall, I really liked Queen & Slim. I think it was a fantastic film, with well written characters, particularly in our two leads and the acting was great. You really get to sit with two characters, you understand them more and more as the movie continues. The script is really interesting and pretty unique for it be with black leads. I love the chemistry between Daniel and Jodie. You might find yourself rooting for them. and I think you’ll experience a ton of emotions throughout the film. On the other hand, I found it hard to like Queen consistently and there’s nothing wrong with disliking a character but it just felt like something we’ve seen so many times. I also did not like the protest sequence, I get why it was there but if you remove it, it’s not a big deal. I also have a love/hate relationship with the ending. BUT this movie is beautifully shot and it feels like it could be real life, and it some ways it is real life.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Queen & Slim? What are your thoughts? If you’d like to talk about the ending and my thoughts on the protest scene please feel free to comment! Please do!
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Summary: A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family.
Cast and Characters. There are a lot of people in this movie. I’m not going to go into all of them as I would some but I’m still going to include them all because what’s in this picture is really what we see.
Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc. He has great eyes lol, but he is a private detective called upon to investigate Harlan’s murder. He mysteriously received money and a tip that Harlan’s murder was not a suicide so now he’s upended this family, but he’s determined to figure it out. His southern drawl killed me the entire film it’s so funny and I think he had fun doing this role. He always looks so disinterested when I see him, but I think he had fun here. He’s smart but there are times where you think he’s going to be outsmarted by whoever did the murder, but we then learn that he’s been on top of it the entire time even if he didn’t know all the details lol.
Chris Evans as Hugh Ransom Drysdale. He is Harlan’s grandson, Linda and Richard’s son, and a spoiled playboy. I love how people were shocked in the trailer to see him play this kind of role “it’s against type” and I know people are used to him playing Captain America but if anything, Cap is against type. He’s played this kind of role far more than the “straight man”. Anyway, he’s a jerk lol and we meet him officially about 20-30 minutes into the movie. He ends up partnering up with Marta to do some digging. We learn that he’s really smart, like really and I would have loved to know more about his character. I love Chris Evans, I always have (Cap has made me love him more though and he made me love Cap). But he’s so good in this movie and he gets to do a couple of different things and he is clearly having fun in this role as well. It was so weird to see his hair so dark though. I was like “wow, he looks so different” when his hair is not even as blond as it is when he’s Steve lol.
Ana de Armas as Marta Cabrera. She is Harlan’s nurse and caretaker who had a close relationship with him. I kept thinking she was Linda Cardellini because she looks a lot like her. Anyway, I would argue she’s the lead of the film. She knows this family well and most of them know her, even though they are very ignorant as it’s a running joke that no one except for Meg, really knows where she’s from. She’s a good person and it sucks what she must go through in the film. But Ana de Armas is very likable, you’re on her side really in the movie and it’s fun to watch her interact with Daniel Craig, especially with her quirk of literally not being able to get away with lying.
Jamie Lee Curtis as Linda Drysdale. She LOOKS so good! As soon as she came on screen, I was like ugh beautiful! She’s Harlan’s eldest daughter, Ransom’s mom and Richard’s wife. She is a real estate mogul who runs her own company with her husband’s support. Being the oldest, she has a lot to say about the others and what’s best for the family. JLC is great, I thoroughly enjoyed her character and I thought her, and Don Johnson worked really well together. She also had great style.
Michael Shannon as Walter “Walt” Thrombey. He is Harlan’s youngest son, Donna’s husband, and the CEO of his father’s publishing company. He has a lot of motive in the film and he comes off weird and creepy at times too but that’s also just Michael Shannon because I find him scary in general lol. But he’s a great actor.
Don Johnson as Richard Drysdale. Harlan’s son-in-law and Linda’s husband, who helps run his wife’s company. He is a nut. Don Johnson is still handsome lol and he was hilarious.
Lakeith Stanfield as Detective Lieutenant Elliot. He is a local detective involved in the investigation. I LOVE HIM. He’s such a good actor. His role isn’t big or anything, but he works with Daniel Craig on solving the mystery. It’s clear he thinks the family is crazy lol, but he just wants to move on and close this case.
Toni Collette as Joni Thrombey. She is widow of Harlan’s deceased son Neil, and Meg’s mother who is a lifestyle guru and influencer. She’s funny with the voice she was putting on, not to mention, her entire character was like… Paris Hilton in how she talked lol. I loved her style though.
Katherine Langford as Megan “Meg” Thrombey. She is Harlan’s granddaughter, Joni and Neil’s daughter, who studies at prestigious liberal arts college. She’s cool, very outspoken and has a friendship with Marta. I like Katherine Langford, even if her characters are unlikable, she’s likable to me.
Jaeden Martell as Jacob Thrombey. He’s Harlan’s grandson, Walt and Donna’s son, who holds alt-right views and is always on his phone. He doesn’t get many lines, he’s always in the background looking at his phone, which is a running joke, not to mention his views. I swear they call him “little Hitler” or something along those lines and I laughed each time lol. I like this kid though, everything I’ve seen him in, I’ve thought he’s good at his job. I hope to see more of him.
Christopher Plummer as Harlan Thrombey. He is a wealthy mystery novelist who invites his family to his 85th birthday party and is found dead. He has three children — Linda, Walt, deceased Neil, and three grandchildren. He is a legend to me, Sound of Music will always be the movie I know him for, even if he hates it lol. But we only see him in flashbacks, and I love how he interacts with his family and Marta. He cares about them all, but he has his reasons for the things he does. Christopher Plummer is always good.
Intriguing Mystery. I love mysteries, I love puzzles, this is the kind of stuff that I thoroughly enjoy because you can make your own theories, think you know who did it and then the movie could shock you with its twists and turns. Harlan Thrombey’s death was ruled a suicide but it’s revealed that it might not be and now everyone is on edge trying to figure out what it could be. Everyone has their secrets, as usual, everyone has motive, so you’re not sure who to trust and I think this mystery is so straight forward but so smart that as it unfolds and then revealed later, you’re like WHAT even if you figured out who did it lol.
Great/Entertaining Writing. The writing is super smart and entertaining. The dialogue is great and the way the story unfolds doesn’t feel childish or convoluted in how it’s presented. There are flashbacks as characters think of moments that’s happened previously and what not, but it’s not annoying or out of place. It makes sense. The characters all have great chemistry with each other, their lines are smart and quippy. I liked it. I think it’s very well written and as it unfolds, it makes sense. I was never once confused. This is what Murder on the Orient Express (2017) tried to be.
Cinematography. This movie looks really stylized. It’s set in current times, but it has this 70’s look to it with the clothing choices and the glossy look of the film. I think it’s beautiful.
Feels Too Long. I do remember feeling like the movie felt really long when we were watching it. It’s like two hours but at some point, it felt like they were dragging it out and I wanted them to go ahead and tell me I was right without dragging it out more.
Overall, I really liked this movie a lot. It’s one of the best of the year and it’s going on my list. I liked the characters; the cast was great and clearly had a ton of fun playing these roles. The story is written really well written, with smart and funny dialogue. The film also has a great look to it. My only problem, that I could think of was that it feels too long, it’s probably not too long but it felt like it. But in the end, Knives Out is a fun and smart murder mystery that allows the viewer to be interested in the characters while also working with the detective to figure out just who murdered Harlan Thrombey. Worth the watch.
Rating: 4.89 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Knives Out? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!
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Summary: Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their kingdom.
Cast and Characters.
Idina Menzel as Elsa. She is the Queen of Arendelle, Anna’s older sister and has magical ice powers. This movie picks up about a year after the first movie, she’s fallen a little better into her role as Queen but there is still something not quite clicking for her. She still feels out of place, as if she doesn’t belong and this is shown when she realizes she’s hearing this musical call. She doesn’t know who or what it is but after singing “Into the Unknown” and something happening to the Kingdom, she decides to find out just what is going on. Throughout the movie, she learns little things about her family’s past and about herself. This movie really focuses on Elsa’s journey to discovering who she is and where she truly belongs, especially now that she is more confident in her powers and using them. Idina Menzel does a great job in voicing Elsa. She’s very quiet and reserved and Idina’s voice is soft and she does great line reading for the character, particularly in emotional moments or when she’s talking to Anna. I love the sisterhood we see between Elsa and Anna and that’s it so much stronger here which is natural. I also love how Elsa interacts with Kristoff being that he’s important to her sister (though I wished they’d interact more). I just like her journey throughout this movie of discovering herself. Frozen was about her coming to terms with her magic and this is about her coming to terms with where she belongs.
Kristen Bell as Anna. Anna is Elsa’s younger sister and she’s the opposite of Elsa when it comes to her personality. She’s outgoing, outspoken, full of energy, awkward and clumsy but it works for her. She’s endearing. She adores her sister and is protective that she would do anything to make sure she and Elsa don’t fall apart again. I understood that. At the same time, she’s dating Kristoff and they have a great rapport as well. I thought Frozen was about her more than Elsa (Who was the catalyst) but in this she’s taken on a supporting role which is fine but she’s still fierce in her decisions. Kristen Bell is amazing as Anna. Her personality and delivery shines through for this character and I cannot imagine anyone else playing this role. Plus, her “The Next Right Thing” solo is lovely, and I teared up.
Jonathan Groff as Kristoff and Sven. He is an iceman and Anna’s boyfriend. In this movie, he’s playing that supportive role, but he has his own plot in this movie of trying to figure out the best way to propose to Anna, but she’s distracted with everything else going on. Not to mention, he’s not good at trying to be overly romantic in his proposal. He has some great lines though that I remember being like “best boyfriend ever”. He says things like “my love isn’t fragile” or when Anna needed help, he helps her and says, “I’m here, what do you need?” without asking a single question of “what are you doing out here?” or anything like that. I was like yesssss. I loved it. He might be worried, but he never hinders Anna’s personality. I like Groff a lot, he’s so likable and his delivery for Kristoff is so much fun and I like his kind of mellow/chill personality.
Josh Gad as Olaf. I think Josh Gad is funny most of the time, I like how he delivers lines for Olaf and I do think Olaf is funny and he is likable but there are times where I just don’t need him to interject anything. He has that kind of tendency of being annoying. It’s not all the time but I do feel that way. I did tear up a little during a scene with him later in the film, the music played during that sequence was lovely. In this, his existential thoughts are about growing up and water having memory. It was funny most times lol.
Supporting Characters. We meet a lot of new characters as well as seeing some returning ones. Their parents return with more lines and a bit more personality. We often talk about their bad parenting when it came to Elsa in the first movie, so seeing them like this, allows the audience to see that they were trying.
Evan Rachel Wood as Queen Iduna. I’ve always liked ERW and I was surprised at her singing in this film with her lullaby and a song she sings later with Idina Menzel. But she carries that motherly tone with her daughters, and I would have loved to see more of her to be honest.
Alfred Molina as King Agnarr. We learn a little more about him and Alfred Molina’s voice was perfect, and I wouldn’t mind learning more about him too.
Sterling K. Brown as Lieutenant Destin Mattias. He has such a distinct voice and I like him a lot (even though I always remember him as the bad guy from Supernatural lol) but he was the Captain of the soldiers from Arendelle. His role is very much supporting but if they do a third one, I expect to see him.
The Northuldra Tribe
Martha Plimpton as Yelana. She was cool, she’s the leader of the tribe and clearly cares a lot about them. She acts as a guide in ways to Elsa in giving her advice. If we get a third film, I would like to see more of her.
Jason Ritter as Ryder. He is Honeymaren’s brother and shares Kristoff’s love for reindeer and I liked him a lot. He was energetic, funny and I think he and Kristoff would have a great friendship since Kristoff is surrounded by women lol.
Rachel Matthews as Honeymaren. You’ll probably see a ton of articles about her but at least in this movie, there’s not much there. She seems cool in that she wants to bring peace to the Enchanted Forest but it’s not like she’s a major supporting character nor did we see anything that interesting about her so I personally think the articles are reaching BUT if they give her more to do in the third movie, where it makes sense then sure. I’m down.
Amazing Music. I think the music in this film is so good. I listened to the soundtrack for a while after I saw the movie and I think it’s beautiful. The actual songs are beautifully sung, and I thought a lot more complex than the ones in the first one. Don’t get me wrong, I love the songs in the first one, but I thought these were more emotional and heartfelt. The Lullaby song that Evan Rachel Wood sings is lovely, she also sings with Menzel with “Show Yourself” and I did not she could sing like that. “Into the Unknown” and “Show Yourself” are showstoppers and I thought both were better than “Let It Go” and Idina Menzel shows out on both those songs. Kristen Bell has a beautiful and emotional solo “The Next Right Thing” which I did tear up on. I thought it was a disservice to Jonathan Groff in the first movie at not having a real song since he has an amazing voice but he gets that here in “Lost in the Woods” which the sequence in the film is literally the best in that the adults in my theater were cracking up because it was filmed like a 90’s boy band music video. The best. The instrumentals are amazing as well. Aurora is a young singer and you hear her throughout the movie as she is the voice of this high-pitched singing call. Beautiful.
Beautiful Animation. There is a clear upgrade in the animation from the 2012 film to now. I think it’s obvious, particularly with Elsa’s magic and that scene on the water. The water looks so real when it cuts to that scene of Elsa on the beach. It’s so amazing.
I also think both Anna and Elsa’s animation has allowed us to see they’re older and their clothes. I mean, Elsa has a dress where it looks like it’s bleeding out of her skin. Amazing! Then the musical sequences, “Show Yourself” and “Into the Unknown” really allow for them to show off AND the spirits too. Beautiful. I saw the film in Dolby which does allow for great sound, but the screen is also brighter, and the colors really pop. I think it’s worth seeing it like that.
Interesting Story. So, the story is really interesting. The idea that something is calling to Elsa and she must figure out who or what it is I like that a lot because it’s mysterious. So, there’s that plot. Then Kristoff is trying to propose to Anna but she’s not paying attention because she’s worried about her sister and I like that, it’s cute. It’s like an episode filler but it’s cute. Then there’s this other stuff with their parents… and there are so many interesting threads we get introduced to and I was into them.
Narrative Issues. I don’t think the story is boring by any means, the problem I found that it’s not as tight as it probably should have been. It’s a very interesting story, I was very eager to understand and to find things out, but I found that there was a skeleton but not much flesh, but the idea of the flesh was so interesting, I felt let down once I saw it not quite land the way it should have. Especially after seeing that amazing teaser trailer with Elsa trying to get over the water. I think there was a lot of threads that just didn’t connect in the best way.
Story Slows Down. There are points in the movie where the pacing slows down and I remember going “Okay, let’s get back to the story now” and I don’t know why it does that because the story is very interesting. I liked a lot of what was setup with the stakes and consequences but there are times when it shifts focus to a side plot, which I liked, but it felt like a filler episode. It just gets very excited to include all this stuff, but it feels incoherent.
No Consequences/The Ending. Sooooo, there are a few elements that happen in this movie that left me questioning the consequences of the actions that people make. For example, once Elsa uses her magic to alert Anna about something that happened in the past, which while I get her powers are growing, I thought it was a little weird how she could just recreate moments with her powers (you’ll see what I mean), Anna makes this decision at the end, I mean it was a big decision and I wonder what would the fallout have been like. Then later, Elsa stops Anna’s decision with her powers and that’s just it. Yes, she has a reason to why it works but it was a deus ex machina and I guess I wanted them to really go through with it. But at the end of all that, Elsa makes another big decision and I get it and respect it but what does that mean for her?
Some Questions. I have a few questions about things that just happen without a real explanation why. For example, after Elsa has this great second musical sequence later in the film, she goes into this lower chamber and something happens to her that just happens out of the blue. There was no explanation as to why it happened, there was no warning that it would happen, and she seemed just as shocked as I was. It would have been cool if it was explained why it happened to her of all people. I’m trying not to spoil anything but there’s some magical stuff that happens with a group of people and I need to know if the forest affects time. But if it affects time, how did people actually grow up there? I just… I need some clarification. I need to see the footnotes of the script lol. Also, Elsa’s powers are growing, that’s cool, but the whole thing of “water has memory” was such a big thing and while it was cool, I feel like it shouldn’t have been something that she could do until after the “Show Yourself” scene when we really see her come into her magic. *sighs* I just have so many just questions.
Overall, I loved watching Frozen II. I really enjoyed myself. I think it’s a great movie to watch for anyone who liked the first one and even if you didn’t like the first one, I think there is a lot to like in the sequel. All the main characters (except for Hans) has returned and I like them all, with a like/dislike relationship for Olaf lol. I love the sisterhood between Anna and Elsa and Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell really work well together and play their characters well. Kristoff is still likable, and I think he and Anna are great, he has some great strong moments when it comes to romance and his love for her. The music is fantastic, and I think a lot better than in the first one. The animation clearly had an upgrade and we had an interesting story to watch unfold. Now, with that said, I think the story does leave a lot to be desired in that it needed more tweaks, it has some pacing issues in the second act and there were some choices made that I thought were without true consequences. It’s really a narrative issue for me with this movie. But in the end, Frozen II is a really good sequel, it’s worth the watch in the theaters. I saw it in Dolby, and I think that’s a great way to appreciate the animation and the music.
Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Frozen II? What are your thoughts? Is it better than Frozen? Let me know in the comments below!
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It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the original, I’ll watch it again at some point, so this is not a comparison.
Cast and Characters. So, this movie has the voice actors for the animals and of course the humans as well.
Tessa Thompson as Lady. She is an American Cocker Spaniel who is used to be the light of her human’s lives. She has it good and when they get pregnant, she’s told that the baby will replace her. I think because of Tessa Thompson’s great voice and sassy energy and I liked what she did with Lady. She’s naive still but she’s very much excited to try things, or she at least stands her ground. When she first meets Tramp, she’s like “what are you doing here? I’m going to bark” and he’s like “No please don’t” and she’s like “Mmm yeah I’m going to bark.” I liked that about her. She grows throughout the movie of learning how to live for adventure, and yes with her being a dog, certain human things she doesn’t understand so as she learns, she learns how to make it work for her and her family.
Justin Theroux as Tramp. He has a great voice and I liked him a lot. His character is that rugged “bad boy” type lol which is funny to say for a dog, but they have personality too. He’s a man of the streets and is street smart and he comes across Lady after he escapes the Dog Catcher in her doghouse. Their first meeting isn’t the best, but they meet again when she runs from the pet shop and they have their adventure that blossoms into romance. Tramp doesn’t have a name throughout the movie, he’s called many things and it shows in that he has no idea what he really wants or who he might really be. I think Justin Theroux had the right kind of charm and ruggedness for this character while also being endearing
Supporting Characters. There are a lot of supporting characters in this movie and I’m not going to go through each of them, but I wanted to at least highlight them for their work on the film. Sam Elliott as Trusty was inspired as he’s a bloodhound and he just exude that “old timey” guy who thinks he’s still in his prime and likes to tell stories of the good old days. Ashley Jensen as Jock (Scottish Terrier) was cute and erratic and it worked. Janelle Monáe as Peg was amazing as she has that sultry voice. Benedict Wong as Bull had nice comedic timing and worked well with Janelle Monáe. Thomas Mann and Kiersey Clemons portrayed Jim Dear and Darling Dear and I saw people complained about the interracial marriage, but I thought they were cute, I believed in their romance and relationship.
Cute CGI Animation. At some points, I wasn’t sure how much was trained animals or CGI animals, but I thought it looked good with the animals talking and their mouths moving to reflect their conversation. They did do a little something something to their eyes.
Really Sweet. I thought the moments between Lady and Tramp were really sweet. I mean sure, the dogs can’t emote quite as well as their animated counterparts, but I think it was handled well enough, better than The Lion King. I don’t think it was as “realistic” as those were… I don’t know lol. I thought they had “chemistry” as dogs can. Not to mention, Lady interacting with Jim and Darling was super adorable and it made me want a dog (as always). I liked the moments with Lady and Tramp quite a bit and I was into their dialogue and Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux worked off each other really well. The Bella Notte scene was cute. When they save Tramp at the end and he’s invited into the family, I was like AWWWWW! This movie is really sweet and cute. I mean really.
The Dog Catcher Stuff. I don’t even really remember it being a thing in the animated film, I know it was because I remember the pound and stuff but every time, he came on screen I was like, dude get a life. He’s a stray god. He’s treating Tramp like he’s a human being who just goes around stealing stuff from people’s homes. Tramp sleeps in the train yard, okay and then he just trots around the street. He’s not that much of a menace. It was just overkill and towards the end when he came to the Jim Dear and Darling’s house, I was like “bruh…”. I hated it.
Minor Pacing Issues. I do think the movie has an issue with keeping the momentum at times, but I think a lot of this has to do with the Dog Catcher being thrown into scenes. He shows up at the Dear’s house a couple of times, we cut to him trying to find Tramp so many times and I was like ughhhh, stop lol. I mean yes, he causes conflict, but it was annoying so because of that, it causes the movie to slow down.
Overall, I thought it was a very charming and I liked it a lot. I thought the casting was handled really well and the actors really captured their characters. Of course, the dogs were adorable and the training for them to hit their marks without CGI was handled really well. I thought the human characters were interesting and the acting was good. I liked the few that were incorporated, I appreciated the new “Siamese Cats” song because while I get it, it’s a classic, some might find it offensive and Disney deserves credit for that. Besides, I thought the new song was fun. The story is still really cute, and I was into it. My only big problem was I did not like anything dealing with the Dog Catcher. It was too long, the actor was good, but his character was ridiculous and annoying. I can imagine people complaining about “the magic” missing from the movie and I do agree there were times where, the movie reached a slow point after keeping me invested but I think that’s a minor pacing issue. A lot of that was broken because of all the Dog Catcher scenes, personally. But in the end, I thought the movie was cute, with major rewatchability and it’s truly a harmless, sweet adventure.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Lady and the Tramp (2019) yet? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments below!
Summary: A married couple is forced to reckon with their idealized image of their son, adopted from war-torn Eritrea, after an alarming discovery by a devoted high school teacher threatens his status as an all-star student.
Cast and Characters. We have a few people we get to meet throughout the film, some who are around more than others but I’m only going to talk about those who this movie is really focused on.
Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Luce Edgar. He is our lead character, he was adopted by Watts and Roth after being rescued from a foreign country. He is the shining star of his high school, he plays sports, he gives the speeches, the other students look up to him… all around perfect kid. However, we see around this perfect persona as suspicious things happen that he seems to be involved with, but it seems like he’s not. Luce’s character has a lot of things he goes through and you’re never sure if what he’s saying or doing is true. It’s up for your interpretation. But this is the second time I’ve seen this young actor and I’m really intrigued by him, I thought he was fantastic, and I’m very much interested in his future.
Octavia Spencer as Harriet Wilson. I think she is always good no matter what she does, but she is the History teacher and it seems that she puts students into a box that suits her narrative. But she also seems to be someone who has her students interests at heart. She is very ambiguous just like Luce is, so it really depends on how you feel and what you think. I found myself on her side a lot of the movie but at the same time you doubt her too. But Octavia Spencer is amazing and when she has the scene with Luce, his parents and the principal she does so well! OMG! It’s so amazing. Not to mention the scene with Luce in her house. She’s fantastic.
Naomi Watts as Amy Edgar. I mean, she’s Luce’s mother so she’s automatically on Luce’s side even though there are plenty of times where she doubts him, but she goes through this movie going back and forth between being loyal to her child and being a good person lol. She really goes back and forth, and you can’t help but wonder just what you would do in her place. Naomi Watts is very sympathetic though and I understand her struggle but of course being on the outside, I was very frustrated with her lol.
Tim Roth as Peter Edgar. So, he’s not as prominent as Watts’ character but he’s just as important. Being that he’s the father, there is a slightly difference approach he has to Luce compared to Amy. He’s a bit more straight forward and less worried to make Luce feel any kind of way. He even flats out just as Luce questions whenever there’s a question he has. I held out for him to be the voice of reason throughout the movie but it’s up to the viewer to decide where he might stand in his last scene. Tim Roth is great, but I can’t say I’m aware of his acting talent from other movies outside of The Incredible Hulk lol, but I liked him a lot and I was expecting him to be the opposite of the mother by being less “sympathetic” to Luce’s nonsense.
Intense Scenes. Ya’ll this movie is intense, the tension in the room between the characters and the dialogue creates such intense moments that I rewound a few scenes just to hear the dialogue again or to see the acting again. There are two that really stood out to me. The scene in the school with Luce, his parents, the principal and Ms. Wilson where she’s basically trying to get everyone to understand what Luce has said and done to her, while he’s feigning innocence is such a great scene. Everyone did such a great job and according to the director commentary that was the first scene they filmed. Excellent. Later, there is a scene with Luce and Ms. Wilson in her house and that was THE BEST SCENE in the movie. I rewound that part because I just could not lol. It was so good. There is also a scene with Ms. Wilson and her sister Rose in the school, my eyes were wide the entire time. There are a few more of these in the film, very hard hitting with great dialogue and fantastic acting.
Ambiguous Narrative. Sometimes it’s super annoying when movies aren’t clear in anything that’s going on, but I think this movie does it so well that I was so into it. You’re not sure what to really believe and I think even if you do decide whose side you want to be on, if you watch it again, you might find yourself thinking about the other person’s ideals even more. I didn’t watch it twice, but I went back and forth a lot. So, while I agree with Ms. Wilson for the most part, I also found myself understanding the hill Luce was climbing about her.
Interesting Story. So, this feeds right into the one above it, but the story is straight forward. It’s basically Luce vs. Ms. Wilson but there are things that happen that are questionable on both characters’ parts. Is Luce hiding terrible information and tormenting this teacher? Is this teacher trying to use her power to tear some students down while lifting others up? Even though she says something about that, it doesn’t seem like her intention is to ruin anyone’s life… I don’t know it’s just so interesting and I think left to the interpretation of the viewer, at least to understand what her actual intentions are. Plus, you have Amy and Peter as Luce’s parents who want the best for him, they think he’s perfect and they go back and forth on believing their son and by the end, their choices are understandable but a little shocking.
Frustrating/ Ending. For the movie to build up how it did, with all the details we were given and then for it to just end. I get the point as it mirrors the opening but it’s different this time, the meaning behind it is different, that point in his life is different and the emotion is different, but you now must take the point and what might have happened for yourself. It’s a little annoying because I was going back and forth throughout the film and things are confirmed for Ms. Wilson, but Luce’s parents are just… ugh I don’t know. I’m not even sure if that makes sense lol.
Ambiguous Narrative. Now, I’m praising this aspect, but I can also imagine it being super frustrating for others because you’re not quite clear on who to believe or what’s really going on. It’s all very stylized and it may feel like the narrative is lost in the music and the shots and what not, which at times I did feel that, being that it’s based on a play, that might be part of the problem so I can imagine it being a tad frustrating.
Overall, I think this movie damn near perfect for me. I mean, the acting is phenomenal from everyone, the characters are well written with smart and interesting dialogue. They have great moments where you wonder their intentions or if they’re being honest and truthful. The movie tackles some hard-hitting topics and I think it handles those topics in a way that feels so real and raw and I understand the characters points of views from that. I didn’t give this its own point but the music in this film is good. The director talked about it on the commentary and how they incorporated it into the film. There are a lot of intense scenes where the actors really kick that dialogue in the teeth and delivers great stuff! Just wow! The narrative is ambiguous and usually that bothers me, but it didn’t here, but I can imagine it bothering someone else, not to mention the ending is frustrating. But wonderful movie, worth all the watches.
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Luce? If so, what did you think about it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Summary: An over-the-hill hitman faces off against a younger clone of himself.
Minor spoilers ahead…
The cast. Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong are all good for the most part. There are times where it seems like no one cares what’s going on or about the story, but I think because they’re all interesting and good actors, the lame acting is overlooked. Will Smith is always fun to watch, he’s funny when he needs to be, and since he plays two characters, he gets to be a little brash, impulsive as Junior and he gets some emotional moments. As Henry, he’s “over the hill” but still very competent at his job, he’s pretty cool, as Will Smith’s characters generally are, and he gets some humor in there too. I’ve always liked Mary Elizabeth Winstead, she’s fine in her role, I think she might have been a little miscast but she’s fine. Benedict Wong serves his role well, he’s the “wingman” type and he’s funny when we need him to be.
Pretty Good Action. This pertains to the quick fight scene in the boathouse with Mary Elizabeth Winstead and some thug. It was brutal, she got her butt kicked but she also kicked butt too. I wish the action in the rest of the movie was more like that. The action sequence at the end was pretty good too, with Will and Mary having to face down a ton of shooters. They both were badass in that sequence. Not to mention, the fight between Will, young Will and the ninja lol. Those two moments were the only times I felt any stakes.
So Much Potential. This movie has so much potential it physically hurts me. I wasn’t holding out for a good movie when I saw the trailer, but I thought it could be interesting. I investigated it, and this movie has a long history of trying to be made. It was supposed to come out in 1997 with an original script back then with a ton of well-known actors attached to the role: Harrison Ford, Robert de Niro, Al Pacino, Michael Douglas, Chris O’Donnell, Mel Gibson, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, Pierce Brosnan, Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Jon Voight, Denzel Washington, Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Gerard Butler, Nick Nolte, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Sean Connery. I wonder what exactly happened and if all these actors were attached or in talks or something. But the idea of this man being the best at his job to the point where he’s unknowingly cloned so his skills never die is cool, but I think if this movie would have explored the interactions with Henry and Junior more, or if they went a different route with the story.
Really Bad CGI. Every time after young Will’s first appearance was too much. It was very uncanny valley and it wasn’t good. It’s clear it was motion capture CGI and it wasn’t good CGI. I could not suspend my belief that Will Smith had a 23-year-old clone because it was so bad. Particularly when he talked. It was the mouth area a lot of the time and even with his eyes, it was very robotic. I would have believed it more if it was a cyborg copy instead of an organic clone. There is a scene at the end, when Will Smith, MEW and young Will is walking together and it’s clear, there are two real people and then a photoshopped CGI young Will Smith. It was bad. Really bad. The entire movie, whenever young Will came on screen, I could not take it. When he yelled at Clive Owen, his mouth… you have to see it to believe it. They should have just cast Jaden Smith as Junior or something and have it be like his “son” or something lol.
Also, the chase scene at the beginning with the motorcycles also had bad CGI. There is a shot where Will Smith is riding the motorcycle, and the camera is directly in front of him and its clearly green screen lol. I also don’t know if it was just me or not, but some characters also looked like they put some CGI on them or did some photoshop in trying to smooth out their faces. Mary Elizabeth Winstead looked a little weird sometimes and Clive Owen, though it might just be him not aging well, but he looked like playdough lol.
Lackluster action. In our first chase scene with old Will and young Will, the only thing I could think while watching was that they needed to take lessons from Tom Cruise because the choreography for the fighting wasn’t that great. First, there were times where I thought Will Smith looked funny with that big gun he carried during that scene. I think I laughed a few times. I know he can pull it off because he’s done it in other movies. Then when he was on that motorcycle, whenever it was a frontal shot of him riding, it was clearly CGI. It was just bad. Then later, old and young Will are fighting in a crypt and MEW is watching them, and it was an okay fight. It was hard to see at times, but she had plenty of chances to shoot young Will in the shoulder or in a spot that wouldn’t kill him. I don’t care if old Will is saying don’t shoot him, he’s kicking your butt. I’m shooting him. She waited till the last minute. Lame.
Weak Story/Cheesy Dialogue/Feels Dated. The writing wasn’t good. I think three people worked on the screenplay and I think it shows. I want to know what the original script was like back in 1997 because the story is weak, the dialogue is cheesy, and the movie feels old. It feels like it was made during that time of outrageous 90s action movies and it didn’t age well. There’s a part where Henry is telling Dani about stuff Clay did to him while he was being trained and even Will Smith couldn’t make me believe in that dialogue. Not to mention, the weird banter Henry and Dani had throughout the movie. It was so awkward! I don’t know if they were trying to be clever or funny, I don’t know but I wanted to physically cringe.
Emotional Stakes. I think because the story was weak it prevented us from really being invested in any of these characters. We’re supposed to care and like Henry, Dani and then sympathize with Junior and while it’s not impossible for any of this, it’s just not that interesting. Clearly, Henry ends up caring for Dani, but I never thought she was in any real danger. Then later, that first moment when Henry and Junior have this intense moment in the crypt, it’s supposed to be intense and I was like meh. Plus, the dialogue was so bad! Then later Junior and Clay have this “emotional” conversation but between the bad CGI, the bad dialogue and Clive Owen looking so disinterested, I felt nothing. I think this movie could have had a lot of emotional moments, especially with Henry/Junior and Junior/Clay but it didn’t work for me.
Overall, I really didn’t like this movie. I came to terms with it as I continued writing this review. I don’t think it’s good. Sure, the acting is okay for the most part and there are some minor positives in the action and the potential but the bad outweighs the good so much that I can’t even. The CGI is overall bad, and I’ve seen plenty of actors de-aged in movies, but this was bad. ALADDIN DID A BETTER CGI WILL SMITH. The action was lackluster, the movie feels dated, the dialogue was cheesy, and the story was so weak that when it was over, I completely forgot what I just watched. All I could think about was the bad CGI Will Smith face. The emotional stakes did not land and as a side note, I thought there were a ton of weird “technical” issues like some odd transitional choices, like that scene where Dani and Will are talking, then they both look to the side, music starts to play, and we get a transition to them on an airplane. It was so weird! I’ve seen that kind of transition work before, but it did not work here! Plus, all the random shots of the actors being close to the camera while they’re talking to another person… this movie is ugly. There you go, it’s ugly lol. Gah! That’s all, I’m done lol. If you like Will Smith and you want to see all his movies, then sure, check it out but at least wait till it’s streaming or something. Oh, this movie has a higher frame rate… that’s probably why I didn’t like how it looked lol. Look it up. lol.
Rating: 1.9 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Gemini Man? If so, what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!