It has taken much longer than planned for me to finally watch the recent live-action remake of The Lion King (2019). Like many fans, I loved the 1994 original. I enjoyed it for reasons including the brilliant soundtrack, the story and beautiful animation style.
The main reason I couldn’t get beyond the first 15 minutes of director Jon Favreau’s live-action version has something to do with the animation.
There’s no denying that the film is quite the achievement in terms of computer-generated imagery (CGI). Nevertheless, I prefer the 2D animated film; firstly because of the cuteness of the characters. CGI Simba is cute too but different. Also, I prefer the voice work in the first movie. Second, and this one took me by surprise; but, I’d much rather watch the real creatures of the jungle/the African savanna in a well written David Attenborough documentary; than sit through ‘very close but not quite there’ computer-generated images.
Unsurprisingly, for me, The Lion King remake has proven to be largely unnecessary. Mainly because it’s essentially the very same story and seemingly shot for shot. This sameness and the weird space the movie occupies between real and not real is what led me to abort my viewing session. And instead, think about rewatching The Lion King (1994) instead.
Furthermore, I have an irrational fear of rodents. As such, I should have known that all wasn’t going to be well when, at the start, the camera spent what felt like an eternity, following a rodent-like creature around.
Considering this review is very late, you’ve probably already watched or at least tried to watch The Lion King; in which case I sure hope you had a much better time than I did.
Soul, the story of Joe Gardner, a musician who ends up transported out of his body, and has to find his way back is both what I expected it to be and not, simultaneously.
Starring Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey and Daveed Diggs; what stood out most about Soul is how visually well-imagined it is. The look and feel had me fully engaged. Whether it was the barber’s fantastic beard, or what the surroundings and occupants of ‘the place in between alive and dead,’ looks and feels like.
Generally, all of Soul is good. However, I enjoyed it most during the scenes when Joe was in the ‘in-between place.’ It’s the conversations and the general cleverness of the details of those moments that impressed me most. I liked these scenes so much that I found I missed the setting when the story was elsewhere.
My main issue with Soul is how unclear the messaging seemed to be at a point or two towards the end. I don’t mean the messaging at the heart of the film; the one about Joe’s evolution/emotional journey. I’m referring to some moments of dialogue that weren’t as clear or easily understood as I’d come to expect from a Disney Pixar film.
Watch Soul for the highly intriguing concept. I wouldn’t say that I found it quite as clever, satisfying or comforting as Inside Out (2015). But it is worth watching. It also helps a little if you like Jazz.
Lastly, there’s beautiful piano music that happens after Joe’s all-important gig that you probably don’t want to miss.
Director Robert Zemeckis’s remake of Roald Dahl’s adventure/comedy classic The Witches promised a scary, funny and imaginative tale. One about a seven-year-old boy who has a run-in with some real-life witches.
Instead, ‘OK’ is the best I can say about the film. Anne Hathaway’s performance as the main witch wasn’t bad and I liked some of the special effects. Nevertheless, there’s a certain simplicity in the story execution that left me uninspired and dissatisfied.
In fairness, The Witches is based on a famous children’s book. So, naturally, I wasn’t expecting a sophisticated adult tale. Yet, I still hoped to feel more pleased to have watched it than I did.
Luckily, I managed to find parts of the movie that stood out to me in a good way. For example, the above perfectly infectious smile on Anne Hathaway’s face, Chris Rock’s fun voice/narration, the ‘comforted’ feeling I experienced once Octavia Spencer’s loving grandma character showed up. I also enjoyed the musical score and the wonderfully suspenseful scene that involves the task of getting the potion into the pea soup. A moment that took me right back to my favourite Disney Pixar movie, Ratatouille (2007). Lastly, there’s the very pleasantly dramatic dining scene that follows the pea soup ‘flavouring’ incident.
Overall, it’s ultimately the relationship between grandma and grandson that I loved most about The Witches. It’s just a shame that I didn’t find the film as a whole to be as satisfying as my favourite scenes in it.
Give The Witches a chance if you’re especially curious. Undoubtedly, it’s young children who will enjoy it most.
‘Yeah! Kurt Russell delivers another fun musical performance, a key highlight.’
‘My, my; that Santa coat is still as beautiful as the first time I laid eyes on it.’
‘I’m so glad this movie is better than the first one. Thanks to the story and a good performance by young Darby Camp.’
‘I’d love that star as my own personal light. Also looks like a perfect ornament.’
Considering the year that 2020 has been, The Christmas Chronicles 2, along with a few other good seasonal movies this year are precisely what my festive season mise en scène obsessed self have been needing.
It’s a fun adventure for Christmas fans of all ages. Especially, thanks to how positive it is and the way it fully embraces the Christmas spirit. From the engaging adventure story about saving Christmas to the stunning decorations and fun special effects.
Watch The Christmas Chronicles 2. Particularly if, like me, you’re into how beautiful the festive season makes everything look, and all else I’ve mentioned.
The only things I liked a little less than would have been ideal are the performances by the big brother character and the naughty elf. Both were okay. However, just not as fully believable at times as young Camp the others.
I watched Netflix’s Holiday Home Makeover with Mr Christmas to do one of my favourite things this time of year; feast my eyes on other people’s Christmas decorations.
Starring Benjamin Bradley (Mr Christmas), and the decorated premises of four families, watching the four-episodes will likely show you a few new tips and tricks for decorating your home during the holiday season. However, when it comes to the final results, decoration-wise, I found myself less wowed than I expected to be.
In fairness, there’s no doubt that Christmas decor tastes can be very personal. Nevertheless, for me, I enjoyed the first and last episodes most because of the decor and the personalities involved. It’s during these episodes that the show about a decor expert helping four families decorate their homes came close to being the best it could have been. For the two middle episodes, I, unfortunately, could not stop the urge to fast forward to the finished decor instead of sitting the stories and steps it took to get there.
Perhaps season 2, assuming it’s coming will have a bigger production budget, more engaging stories and a touch more elaborate and awe-inspiring decor.
In the meantime, should you find yourself super curious, give Holiday Home Makeover with Mr Christmas a chance. At the very least, you’ll learn a few DIY decorating tips.
The sequel to The Boss Baby (2017) is here, meaning the smart/adult-like, briefcase carrying baby who’s voiced by Alec Baldwin is back.
Also starring James Marsden, Jimmy Kimmel and Jeff Goldblum; in The Boss Baby – Family Business, the Templeton brothers are now grown up and have drifted apart. However, not if a new boss baby with a cutting-edge approach has anything to do with it.
Directed by Tom McGrath; additional key cast includes Amy Sedaris, Lisa Kudrow and Eva Longoria.
I’m so glad to see Alec Baldwin back for this sequel. I’ve just recently finished re-watching his great work in 30 Rock. So I’m definitely in for this one. And it helps that the first Boss Baby movie was so imaginative and fun.
When I decided to watch The Princess Switch 2– Switched Again, I wasn’t expecting great things. I was hoping for a sort of watchable Christmas movie experience that I’d be able to get through with a smile on my face, in part thanks to the Christmas filled mise en scene.
Instead, what happened within 10 minutes of the viewing experience gave me a strong urge to reach for my phone and do other things while it played. I definitely could have aborted the whole experience, but something told me to leave it playing. Nothing improved with time, of course. But at least it made the room look extra ‘Christmassy’.
What exactly is wrong with The Princes Switch 2 – Switched Again? Let’s just say that it’s the kind of story and execution that’s really best enjoyed by preteen girls/children. I should have known.
Nevertheless, in the event that, like myself, you often leave less than great Christmas movies playing in the background because you like the ambience they help create, maybe, for that reason alone, hit play on The Princes Switch 2 – Switched Again. You could even leave it playing with the volume down while you pick a Christmas soundtrack to blast through your home. Now that’s an idea.