With an animation style inspired by the recent "Spider-Verse" films and a hip, kinetic energy influenced by movies like "The Mitchells vs. The Machines," "Mutant Mayhem" is not your father's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
In fact, in many ways, it's better.
Imagine me - a male film critic - somehow posturing myself to think that anyone would care about my review of a "Barbie" movie. To think that my take matters sort of undercuts the spirit of the entire film...women - Barbie included - do not need my stamp approval or my "thumbs up," nor does it feel appropriate. That being said, it feels very "male" of me that I would continue on giving my opinions regardless.
Understand that "Barbie" is a movie that EVERYBODY should go see, but I would like to fully acknowledge upfront that this is a movie best appreciated by women, or those that grew up with the uber-popular, iconic Mattel Barbie dolls. There are several call-backs, references and jokes aimed at the entire past line of Barbie dolls...from the pregnant Midge doll, to her younger sister Skipper whose breasts would grow if you rotated her arm, to Ken's "buddy" Allan (all of Ken's clothes fit him!). If you don't know much about Barbie, there is still fun to be had, but not nearly as much as for those in the know.
"Barbie" isn't perfect, but that's sort of the point and the modern approach to the character, isn't it?
The bar is always set exceptionally high when you hear the word "Pixar." The animation studio has of course given us some of the very best movies - animated or otherwise - that have been made over the last 3 decades.
With that framing in mind, "Elemental" isn't among the very best of Pixar. But it is the sort of movie that we frankly need more of.
Here are reviews of several new movies opening this weekend theatrically as well as on streaming:
"Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3" (GOTGV3) is awesome on a number of different levels. It's also my favorite Marvel movie at least since "Avengers: End Game," and perhaps of all-time.
James Gunn - recently recruited to relaunch and reimagine the DC Cinematic Universe - completes the GOTG trilogy of films with an action-packed, personal journey, sending this group of ragtag, imperfect characters off into the sunset.
I laughed. I cried. But most of all I had FUN. I couldn't believe how invested I was with this batch of characters, having followed them throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) for 10 years now. I cared. In creating this massive, cosmic, two-and-a-half-hour long epic, James Gunn has somehow told the most personal Marvel story to date, one with consequences and stakes, that didn't just revolve around villains trying to destroy the whole of the universe.
I didn't know what I expected when I sat down in the theater to see "Polite Society," but my expectations were exceedingly shattered.
This is a fun, wild, spirited action-comedy romp, with fantasy elements that make comparisons with films like "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" inevitable. First time writer/director Nida Manzoor is a break-out, as are her two leading ladies, Priya Kansara and Ritu Arya, who combine to pack quite the punch in what might be the most surprisingly enjoyable film of 2023.
I'm a sucker for a good coming-of-age story, and "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" is a great one.
With focus, authenticity and a better-than-expected cast, this is a crowd-pleaser that will withstand the test of time, much like the book that it's based on.
It's hard to believe that there has never been an animated film featuring Mario and his brother Luigi, until now. "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" doesn't have the "coolness" or cutting-edge appeal as, say, "The LEGO Movie" did, and it wasn't quite as fun as the recent "Sonic The Hedgehog" film, but it's a mildly enjoyable, family-friendly adventure that does just enough to make it feel like a success.
The images you may see in the trailer for "Paint," may make you think that Owen Wilson is portraying the legendary, soft-spoken Public Television artist, Bob Ross, whose "The Joy of Painting" captivated people around the world.
But "Paint" is not a biopic, nor does Bob Ross have anything to do with this film. Sure, the look of Wilson's character, the easy-going womanizer, Carl Nargle, may himself have a popular public-access TV show about painting, and he may have taken inspiration from Ross's iconic appearance, but Nargle couldn't be more polar opposite than Ross.
The biggest difference? Ross is a joy to watch. Nargle on the other hand, is a grating, pompous-ass who gets by with his charm and talents. None of which leaves anything for us to root for in this bland, quirky "comedy," that seems to misfire at every opportunity.
It's hard to know or measure the success of a streaming-only movie, especially because sites like Netflix rarely, if ever, divulge much information about them. We do know though, that Adam Sandler has had a multi-picture deal with Netflix, and from that deal came 2019's "Murder Mystery." It was the rare film, in that critics and audiences agreed that it sucked (it boasts a 44% approval score from RottenTomatoes critics and audiences).
But in today's day and age, success can come in many different forms, and the powers-that-be decided to green-light a sequel. The innovatively-titled "Murder Mystery 2" is now streaming, despite nobody asking for it to exist.
Is Sandler out of ideas when it comes to comedies? Surely he could have came with an original idea to fulfill his promise to Netflix, instead of trying to squeeze life out of an existing, lifeless movie. But here we are.
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