If you are already predisposed to hate Disney and all that the mega-conglomerate stands for, the new "Jungle Cruise" is bound to rub you the wrong way. It's an over-stuffed, over-produced chaotic romp, that just seems to be full of excess (and CG) around every corner. However, with Emily Blunt and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at the center of the mess, their friendly chemistry is just barely able to keep "Jungle Cruise" from straying completely off-course.
Some stories are so bizarre, they can't possibly be untrue.
"Zola" is one such tale.
Our country has never been more polarized, and facts have never been as important as they are now. But despite our differences, we should all be able to come together with pride to denounce that the new, R-rated, raunchy, gory, silly "America: The Motion Picture" tries way too hard at pretty much everything it attempts to do.
This might be the revisionist history we deserve, but it's more of a missed opportunity.
The new, subversive romantic-comedy, "Good on Paper" is a showcase for stand-up comedian Iliza Shlesinger. She stars as a version of herself and also wrote the screenplay, based on her real-life dating experiences.
There are some funny moments and truths realized in her story about how a relationship can go from seemingly perfect to downright scary, but as a whole it isn't executed well and much of her comedy seems, well, better on the page than it does in real-life situations.
Video games have not translated well into movies. Other than "Sonic the Hedgehog," very few have ever worked. In other words, a great video game doth not maketh a great movie.
The latest example of this is "Werewolves Within," a popular VR (Virtual-Reality) video game by Ubisoft that is being given the big-screen treatment. Caught somewhere between horror and comedy, it works as neither, with the only real scare being in how miserably unfunny it ends up being.
Pixar is the most prestigious and well-known animation studio of the past several decades. But it isn't always a sure-thing with them, as they've produced more than a few clunkers (like "Cars 2" or "Cars 3" for example) in-between being responsible for iconic gems like the "Toy Story" films, "WALL-E" or "Inside Out." Even their 2020 release, "Soul," was a profound achievement, if not quite rising to the level of a "classic" Pixar film.
Their latest effort is "Luca," a movie that touches on some deeply important and contemporary themes of inclusion, acceptance and identity, but that - in more ways than one - is all wet.
If you were a fan of the original 2017 action-comedy, "The Hitman's Bodyguard," there is almost no way that you won't also like its sequel, "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard." That's because it's essentially the same movie, with the same primary cast, writer and director, but it's a lot leaner (shorter), tighter and funnier than its predecessor.
Did we need a sequel to "The Hitman's Bodyguard"? Nah. But in a world where Intellectual Properties reign supreme, there are worse universes to find yourself thrown back into.
Disney has a thing for its villains, and Cruella de Vil has always been one of the company's most iconic. New this weekend (in theaters and available on Disney+), "Cruella" gives us the origin story of a character who first appeared on-screen in the 1961 animated classic, "101 Dalmations" and who most recently was portrayed by Glenn Close in the live-action 1996 remake, "101 Dalmations" and its dog of a sequel, "102 Dalmations" (Close gives her seal of approval over this new version of the character, being that she's one of the film's Executive Producers).
Emma Stone is a perfect young Cruella de Vil, with the ability to be so likable and angelic at times but who can also turn on her devilish side with a quick flash of a look and a grin. There's nothing at all wrong with her rendition of the infamous Disney villainess, but "Cruella" is clogged with so much unnecessary and distracting nonsense that it - just barely - doesn't quite work.
A totally bonkers Andrew Garfield and a solid performance from Maya Hawke (daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman) is not enough to save "Mainstream" from itself.
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT: Interview with "Mainstream" director Gia Coppola
If you're like me, you consider yourself a big fan of Billy Crystal. I seriously root for him, and whenever he appears in a movie he is always a sight for sore eyes...he's the "comfort food" of comedy, where you can just sink back and relax into his quick-witted sense of humor and uniquely-nasally voice, knowing that at any minute, he has the capability of making you smile even when he - on occasion - isn't making you laugh.
The clunky, overly-sappy "Here Today" is, sadly, one of those occasions. It's co-written and directed by Crystal himself, his first directorial effort since the HBO baseball movie, "61*," twenty years ago. Crystal is coming off of his best performance since his iconic role in the 1989 classic, "When Harry Met Sally," in last year's mostly unseen and unnoticed "Standing Up, Falling Down." In that film, Crystal was warm, touching and funny, but he also showed off his dramatic chops as an alcoholic dermatologist, fully embracing the fact that, at age 73, there's more road behind him then in front of him.
"Here Today" takes a deeper dive into themes like this: Mortality, aging, family relationships, friendship and legacies left behind. Crystal is no question one of the greats of his generation, but this misfire will definitely not rank as a film worth remembering.
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