Reviews Of What Is In Theaters Now

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THE LION KING

Rated: PG

Release Date: July 19, 2019

Director: Jon Favreau

Stars: Donald Glover, Beyonce, Chiwetel Ejiofor, James Earl Jones

Plot: A young lion tries to find his way in life in order to be the king he was born to be

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee

 

 

When Disney released the animated version of THE LION KING in 1994 it was a game-changer. It was innovative, beautiful, and an instant classic. Now, 25 years later, in the midst of Disney remaking many of their classics into live-action films, we return to Pride Rock, but it feels like we are Simba returning after Scar messed everything up.

 

This is one of those movies where the studio said, "We can do this!" But they never stopped to think if they should do it. This new version does nothing better than the original. In fact, it does a few things much worse. For example, this version clocks in just shy of 2 hours, so it feels really slow. Next, it adds a new song that is useless, boring, and totally out of place. Then, the love story between Simba and Nala does not play out well and feels rushed. Finally, all of the lions look the same, so it is really difficult to tell them apart in certain scenes.

 

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this film is that it is essentially a shot-for-shot remake of the original. There is no updated story line, there are no new and innovative scenes, and the songs feel off because they are sung in a different way than we have been singing them for 25 years.

 

And while I find Donald Glover to be a fantastic actor, this is not a good role for him. He makes Simba feel aloof and meek, even when he is standing his ground to become king. I don't necessarily think that it was his fault, but Director Jon Favreau should have done a better job of making Simba sound more leader like and authoritative. 

 

On the positive side, the movie is beautiful, and the animals are fun to watch, but there is nothing about this movie that makes it better than the original. Save yourself the money and the hassle of going to the theater and just watch the original at home.  

Posted by on in Movie Reviews

ALADDIN

Rated: PG

Release Date: May 24, 2019

Director: Guy Ritchie

Stars: Naomi Scott, Mena Massoud, Will Smith

Plot: A boy from the streets falls for the princess and a genie helps him find out who he really is

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters

 

 

The 1992 animated film will always have a special place in my heart. It is the film my wife and I saw on our very first date. Therefore, I was really nervous when they announced this live-action reboot. But now that I have seen the movie, I can say that it is just as great and fun as the original.

 

This film is a visual feast. The colors, the costumes, the sets, and the scenery are all amazing. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see this up for a couple of Oscars for costumes, cinematography, and/or production design.

 

The only thing I didn't like about the movie is the same thing I don't like about most movies from director Guy Ritchie. He loves to get super artistic and quirky with some of the shots, which pulls people out of the story and forces them to notice the oddity of the shot. This time he does it by slowing down or speeding up the action during several of the musical numbers. I am a firm believer that the job of the director is to keep the viewer in the story, not to show off the new thing they like to do.

 

It is important to note that this is a slightly different story than the original. Also, since it is a live-action movie we get a lot less from Rajah the tiger and Iago the parrot. But we do get a much more ruthless and cunning Jafar. We also get a much more competent Sultan, and a hilarious handmaid to the princess.

 

The main actors do a wonderful job as Aladdin and Jasmine, and Will Smith is great as the genie. I commend him for taking on this role and dealing with all of the blow-back over the last several months. Robin Williams's genie is one of the most iconic characters in movie history. To try to be the guy after the guy is a daunting task that is rarely successful. Smith does a great job of making the character his own, while still paying homage to his predecessor.

 

Overall, this is a wonderful film. It stays close to the classic, but it feels updated for today. Especially with the new song added for Jasmine's character. If you are a fan of the original, you should give this one a shot. And for those of you with young kids, this would be a wonderful film to introduce them to the incredible magic of Disney movies. 

Posted by on in Movie Reviews

DUMBO

Rated: PG

Release Date: March 29, 2019

Director: Tim Burton

Stars: Danny DeVito, Collin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Eva Green

Plot: A small, struggling, travelling circus gains new fame when their tiny elephant begins to fly, but the attention may be too much for them to handle

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait for the digital release

 

 

Disney has done several live-action remakes of classic films. Up to now, I've considered all of them to be good to great. Now, the little, flying elephant is hitting the big screen in all of his big-eyed, big-eared, CGI glory.

 

Every streak has to come to an end at some point.

 

I wish I could say this movie is fun and exciting and amazing for kids of all ages, but I can't. The reality is that it is really long, slow, and boring. The pacing is slow for most of the film, and it comes to a near stop in a few scenes. The story is told all wrong, the acting is well below average for a cast like this movie has, and the overall tone of the film is too dark.

 

It is also ironic that the bad guy is essentially a Walt Disneyesq character that creates his version of Disneyland. I never thought I'd see the day where Disney turns themselves into the evil empire.

 

Having said all of that, there were several people that applauded the movie as it ended, so your opinion may vary greatly from mine. You might find it beautiful and endearing. And, truly, I hope you do. But, for me, I have no desire to ever see this film again.

 

If you are planning on seeing it with your family, you may want to see it first before taking the younger ones, or do some thorough research before taking them. It is a Tim Burton film, so it is already dark, but there are a couple of scenes that feel like a bit too much for a kids' movie.

 

There isn't anything so mind-blowing in this movie that makes it worth seeing on the big screen. You'll get the same effect by waiting for the digital release.

Posted by on in Movie Reviews

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN

Rated: PG

Release Date: August 3, 2018

Director: Marc Forster

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael

Plot: Christopher Robin has grown up, but finds out he needs his old pals in adulthood just as much as he did when he was a child

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait for the digital release

 

 

 

When I saw the first trailer for this film I was intrigued. I wondered if we were going to get another classic like HOOK, or another powerful and emotional film like GOODBYE, CHRISTOPHER ROBIN. Unfortunately, what we ended up with is a formulaic, slow-moving film with no discernable audience.

 

For the first several minutes I thought we were going to get the emotional movie, there were several scenes that were poignant but also dark. The themes were too adult for children to understand and the pacing was to slow to keep the kids engaged. About 15 minutes into the film we got some fun moments, but even those were still too slow for children.

 

For the adults the movie is too simple. There is nothing complex to keep adults engaged. It's just a straight, formulaic film with a couple of nostalgic moments thrown in.

 

The good news is that it is a beautifully shot film with a nice soundtrack and great acting. There are several simple, but deep thoughts conveyed that will make you think. And, if you are a fan of Pooh and his pals, you will have a good time making some new memories in the Hundred Acre Woods.

 

I really wish this movie was better. I love the idea of this film, it just doesn't hit home for any age group.

Posted by on in Movie Reviews

BORN IN CHINA

Rated: G

Release Date: April 21, 2017

Director: Chuan Lu

Stars: John Krasinski

Plot: Camera crews follow several animals through the Chinese wilderness

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters

 

 

I'm a sucker for a good Disney flick, and when you throw in a baby panda, you had me at "awwwwww". 

 

These yearly DisneyNature films have all been outstanding. This on is no exception. The cinematography is incredible, the stories are well told, and it clocks in at an hour and 19 minutes.

 

My only warning about this film is that it is Rated G, but there are "circle of life" moments where animal death is a part of the story. It is handles well and carefully,  but if your child is old enough to understand what is happening you might have some wet eyes to deal with. 

 

Aside from that, this is a wonderful, must-see film.

Posted by on in Movie Reviews

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Rated: PG

Release Date: March 17, 2017

Director: Bill Condon

Stars: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad

Plot: A cursed prince can change his fate if he can win the love of a young woman

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters

 

 

Disney has done it again. They've taken a masterpiece, reworked it and managed to come up with something familiar, but also new and impressive.

 

I was excited when this film was announced, but my excitement turned to nervousness when I saw the trailers and it looked like they were simply making a shot-for-shot remake of the original animated movie. Now that I have seen it, I can tell you there is a lot of new and interesting material in this version that makes it even more compelling than the original.

 

This version gives us backstory on Belle's family, the Beast's family, and many other interesting tidbits along the way that make it enjoyable to watch for the entire two plus hours. It also gives us four new and wonderful songs, plus new lyrics to several of the original songs.

 

Emma Watson is absolutely perfect as Belle, Kevin Kline plays her father, Maurice, in a new and wonderful way, and Luke Evans brings depth to Gaston. The rest of the cast rounds out the ensemble well.

 

I do need to mention that this film is much scarier than the original. If you have younger children, (under 7), you may want to screen the movie yourself before taking them to see it. There are several scenes that are very intense, including three or four scenes with the wolves.

 

I would also say that it isn't necessary to see this movie in anything bigger than 2D on a regular screen. I saw it in IMAX 3D and we all noticed several blurring issues that shouldn't be there in the 2D version.

 

If you are a fan of Disney films you are going to really enjoy this new version of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. If you grew up with a copy of the original in the VHS player and watched it twice a day every day for a couple of years, this film will return you to your childhood and might even leave a permanent grin on your face.

Posted by on in Movie Reviews

MOANA

Rated: PG

Release Date: November 23, 2016

Director: Ron Clements, John Musker

Stars: Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson

Plot: A young girl goes on a dangerous quest to save her village, with the reluctant help of a demi-god

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, FROZEN finally has a competitor. MOANA is a thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining, and exciting film that the whole family will love. It is full of incredible animation. funny jokes, and girl power. 

 

The story is amazing, and it is told in a way that is not only compelling, but it is accessible to children and adults. This is the perfect film to take the whole family out to see. 

 

Do not miss out on this instant classic.

 

Posted by on in Movie Reviews

PETE'S DRAGON

Rated: PG

Release Date: August 12, 2016

Director: David Lowery

Stars: Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas-Howard, Oona Lawrence, Robert Redford

Plot: A boy and the dragon that raised him are discovered by the outside world

Trailer


Clint Says: Wait for the DVD

 

 

 

 

This is the latest offering from Disney in their attempt to remake all of their classic films into live-action blockbusters. CINDERELLA and THE JUNGLE BOOK were smash hits, and this one probably will be as well. 

 

This movie targets younger children. I would say it is a great film for kids around 7-9 years old. Kids younger than that will be bored by the slow pace and people older than that will find this film to be cliche and predictable.

 

I will say though that the kids who saw it in the screening I went to absolutely loved this film. It is visually amazing, and the story is told well, even though it is formulaic. The child actors are incredible, and the dragon is an incredible creation that will have you wanting your own pet dragon. 

 

While the movie is good, there is nothing in it that makes it worth seeing in the theaters. Beyond that, the 3D is completely useless so don't waste your money on the extra stuff. If you do have kids that want to see this, they will be entertained. So it won't be a waste of money to take them to the theater. Just be prepared to be a bit bored if you are a parent. 

Posted by on in Movie Reviews

THE BFG

Rated: PG

Release Date: July 1, 2016

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill

Plot: A giant and a girl become unlikely friends and work together to get rid of the mean giants

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait for the DVD

 

 

Mark Rylance is one of Hollywood's elite actors, and he proves it once again in THE BFG. His facial expressions alone convey more emotion than most actors could ever dream of doing. He is simply amazing.

 

The imagery and  world-building are highly imaginative and beautiful. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the whole movie. There are scenes where the imagery is so intoxicating that I found myself ignoring the story and just watching the background.

 

I would recommend doing the same thing, because the story is boring. It is slow, there isn't much to it, and it drags on for a full two hours. About 30 minutes into the movie I became very aware of the time and slowness of the movie.

 

I don't know if this film will do anything past the opening weekend, because it's got a plot that's built for young kids, but it's way too long for them. Adults will be bored and kids will be fidgety, and that makes for an unpleasant movie-going experience.