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Movie Review: Mary Poppins Returns
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Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins Returns
Director: Rob Marshall
Writers: David Magee
Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG | 129 Minutes
Release Date: December 19, 2018

The idea of continuing the story of Mary Poppins may seem absurd at first. After all, it has been 54 years since the original film, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, was released. And now, Disney has released a sequel,
Mary Poppins Returns. Of course, there are new younger stars to appear to take over some of the previous roles left behind by the cast of the first film. But that doesn’t mean much has changed. Emily Blunt carries on the spirit of the eponymous character, played originally by Andrews, and makes it her own. Additionally, Lin-Manuel Miranda is a pure joy to watch as his eyes light up with child-like wonder when Poppins returns.

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Movie Review: Aquaman
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Aquaman

Aquaman
Director: James Wan
Writers: David Leslie, Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall
Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rated PG-13 | 143 Minutes
Release Date: December 21, 2018

Aquaman may be one of the most iconic superheroes in the DC lineup, but the character himself has a reputation for being one of the silliest superheroes. Furthermore, his introduction in Zach Snyder’s Justice League did not do him any favors. That being said, Jason Momoa‘s portrayal was a radical change for the one-dimensional pasty white hero. Instead, we got something that truly represented the character’s struggle of living in two worlds while acknowledging his overall cheesiness.

This helped lay the foundation for his own standalone film. Directed by James Wan, Aquaman sees the return of Momoa playing the aquatic eponymous hero in a globe-trotting superhero epic. By embracing many of the title character’s foibles and cheesiness, the film turns out to be one of the best DCEU entries to date. And while that is an easy bar to cross over, its world-building and willingness to have fun expands the cinematic universe and opens the door for the DCEU to explore bold and new possibilities. Check out my review of Aquaman here below.

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DVD Review: Elf Buddy’s Sing & Cheer Along Edition
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Elf Buddy’s Sing & Cheer Along Edition review

Elf
Buddy’s Sing & Cheer Along Edition
DVD
Directed by Jon Favreau
Written by David Berenbaum
Starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Edward Asner, Daniel Tay, Faizon Love, Peter Dinklage, Leon Redbone
Warner Brothers
Not Rated | 97 minutes
Release Date: November 27, 2018

Elf is the story of Buddy (Will Ferrell), an orphan who as a baby, crawled into Santa’s bag and accidentally went to the North Pole. One of the elves (Bob Newhart) decides to raise him as his own. 30 years later, Buddy is the biggest elf in the toyshop and not very good at making toys. He accidentally overhears that not only is he not an elf, but he is a human and his father is in New York City. Not only that, he is on the “naughty list.” Hoping to find him anyway for a special reunion, Buddy begins his journey to New York for Christmas.

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Movie Review: Widows
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Widows review header

Widows
Director: Steve McQueen
Writers: Steve McQueen, Gillian Flynn
Cast: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Carrie Coon, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Rated R | 129 Minutes
Release Date: November 16, 2018

Steve McQueen‘s Widows is not just a heist film. It’s a heist film with an empowering message, wrapped with social issues that continue to affect us today. It’s a phenomenal piece of work featuring women of color taking back the power. Though it has familiar heist tropes, Widows has plenty of depth, as well as twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. Check out my full review below.

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Movie Review: Green Book
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Green Book

Green Book
Director: Peter Farrelly
Writers: Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
Studio: Universal Pictures
Rated R | 130 Minutes
Release Date: November 16, 2018

Race is a touchy subject for any film to address. But Peter Farrelly‘s Green Book addresses it earnestly and with heartwarming charm. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali give us two of the most powerful performances of the year.

While it is a familiar story that doesn’t do anything groundbreaking, it reminds us that something as simple as friendship can be powerful enough to break down the barriers of racism and social inequalities. My full review below.

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Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald
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Fantastic Beasts The Crimes Of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Director: David Yates
Writer: J.K. Rowling
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Jude Law, Johnny Depp
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rated PG-13| 134 Minutes
Release Date: November 16, 2018

Another Fantastic Beasts film is a great excuse to revisit the ever-expanding wizarding world of Harry Potter. It proves that there is still a lot of mythology to explore and stories that need to be told. However, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a poor attempt to continue that story.

Rather than build upon the foundation of the title franchise, the sequel is far too concerned with building its own franchise and treats its own characters like exposition pieces that are to be discarded when they have served their purpose. My full review, below.

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Movie Review: Ralph Breaks The Internet
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Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck It Ralph 2

Ralph Breaks The Internet
Directors: Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
Writers: Phil Johnston, Pamela Ribon
Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson, Gal Gadot, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Ed O’Neill, Alfred Molina, Alan Tudyk
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG | 112 Minutes
Release Date: November 21, 2018

Wreck-It Ralph saw Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) as a pair of lovable arcade sprite misfits in an animated film about acceptance, identity, and self-worth. The film is that perfect blend of humor and heart supported by terrific animation and video game nostalgia. It’s been six years since we last saw the two in a film whose ending seemed perfect. Now we are getting a sequel. Don’t worry, it’s not about Ralph and Vanellope causing trouble in the arcade. No, this time the two go to the Internet in Ralph Breaks the Internet, a play on the very popular phrase when something goes viral. While not as strong as the first, the film goes far beyond humoring with all too easy Internet tropes and gags.

There’s plenty of emotional depth and some surprises that will have you wanting more. However, the pacing and editing are just some of the issues that slow things down. But it’s not enough to ruin what is a fun sequel. Check out my full review below.

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Blu-ray Review: Superman: The Movie (1978) (4K Ultra HD)
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Superman The Movie (1978) Blu-ray review

Superman: The Movie
4K Ultra HD | Blu-ray | DVD
Directed by Richard Donner
Written by Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Robert Benton
Starring Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Valerie Perrine, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, Phyllis Thaxter, Marc McClure
Warner Brothers
PG | 143 minutes
Release Date: November 5, 2018

This year celebrated the 80th anniversary of the creation of maybe the iconic comic character in American history, Superman. It’s also the 40th anniversary of the seminal film by Richard Donner that for many still holds up as the one true film version of Superman. Played by the late great Christopher Reeve, the film details the demise of alien planet Krypton as Jor-El, Oscar winner Marlon Brando sends his child off to planet Earth. Kal-El (Reeve) grows up to become mild mannered reporter Clark Kent of the Daily Planet, who must balance his time between wooing his colleague Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), and saving the world from the plans of corrupt tycoon Lex Luthor, (Gene Hackman). Now you can take the Man of Steel home with you on a brand new 4k Ultra Blu-Ray combo pack.

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Movie Review: The Nutcracker and The Four Realms
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THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Director: Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston
Writers: Ashleigh Powell, Tom McCarthy
Cast: Mackenzie Foy, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Matthew Macfadyen, Richard E. Grant, Misty Copeland, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG | 99 Minutes
Release Date: November 2, 2018

The story of the Nutcracker may be a celebrated piece of a holiday tradition, but it is one that remains unknown to me. I only know it from the Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Flowers,” the ballerina dancing, nutcracker soldiers, and a mouse king. However, plot-wise and its storied history is something that I am very unfamiliar with. So rather than have a very conventional adaptation of the short story and dance production, Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston took a very different approach to The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney’s take on the classic Christmas story.

They managed to modernize the classic Christmas story by embedding female empowerment and diversity into the story. While changing things to be more of a reflection of the current times isn’t anything new nowadays, we have to consider the storied history behind something like The Nutcracker, where there weren’t ballerina sequences or roles for ballerina dancers like Misty Copeland. Now we can see a film with a more diverse cast that will hopefully pave the way for more stories to be told like this. Check out my full review below.

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Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody
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Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody
Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Anthony McCarten
Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, Mike Myers
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Rated PG-13 | 134 Minutes
Release Date: November 2, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody buzzes with electricity from the moment Freddie Mercury and the rest of Queen step foot on stage. Watching these musical sequences is like witnessing a legendary act that deserves to be seen live. And although the film did have its production problems, it holds together well thanks to Rami Malek’s performance as the iconic Freddie Mercury.

Still, no film is without its faults. While the supporting cast is great as they are doing the best with what they are given, the minor issues are not nearly enough to overshadow Malek, who is the beating heart of this film, and the musical performances that will surely have you stomp your foot and clap repeatedly. Check out my review of Bohemian Rhapsody below.

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