REVIEW: Live action ‘Dumbo’ never lifts off

Aside from “The Jungle Book,” Disney’s effort to remake its classic animated library into live action pictures has been only average at best. “Dumbo” certainly doesn’t help that trend.

Like its animated counterpart, “Dumbo” features a performance elephant at a circus who has a newborn son. Breaking away from the original, though, is who discovers the situation. Early on the film introduces the audience to an animal caretaker named Holt (Colin Farrell) and his two children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins). They’re the ones who discover the new elephant at the circus, run by Max Medici (Danny DeVito). Upon seeing Dumbo for the first time, they of course notice his rather large ears. This seems like a problem at first, but the two kids are able to “unlock” a talent in the elephant: the ability to fly.

Similar to the animated picture, there’s an incident where Dumbo’s mother is taken away. However, because of his flying, Dumbo is able to find some success and a little hope is restored. Because of Dumbo’s success, a rich amusement park owner, V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), comes to make Max a partner and obtain his whole show, including Dumbo. An agreement is made, but it becomes apparent that Vandevere is a shady person.

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REVIEW: ‘Wonder Park’ is a forgettable animated adventure

I expected “Wonder Park” to be one of the lesser animated pictures of 2019. I didn’t expect it to be so bizarre.

The film primarily follows June (Brianna Denski), a young girl with a creative imagination who pretends to run an amusement park with her mom (Jennifer Garner). However, when her mom becomes sick with an undisclosed illness, June stops playing with the imaginary world of Wonderland.

Just when it seems her creative spark is gone, though, through a series of events, she actually stumbles across the park from her imagination. But the park isn’t all that great. In fact, it’s seemingly fallen into disrepair. As a result, June needs to team with her imaginary friends to restore the park.

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REVIEW: Third ‘Dragon’ ends the series on a positive note

It seems like the dragons are trained by this point, but the name still rolls off the tongue nicely.

In the third and likely final film in the series that started in 2010, the main character Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), an expert dragon trainer and rider is now chief of Berk. Since the events of the second picture, the island village where vikings reside has become a sort of safe haven for dragons. Because the people of Berk have become experts in handling dragons, thanks largely to Hiccup’s efforts in the past two movies, the dragons are able to live in relative peace.

However because of how many dragons are coming to the island for safety, the land is becoming overcrowded. This is on top of the fact that there are antagonistic forces who want to eliminate dragons, seeing them as a threat. In response, Hiccup decides to find the so called “Hidden World,” where dragons can live safely without being found.

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REVIEW: ‘Lego’ sequel is satisfactory

Like the original, while not perfect, “The LEGO Movie 2” puts together the building blocks in a nice enough way to create a pretty good movie.

The first Lego movie was released in 2014 and the five year difference is reflected in the sequel. The protagonists of the first film, having seemingly saved the world, came under an immediate new threat right away, this time from other types of Lego blocks. As a result, Emmet (Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), and the other heroes are forced to live in a world that looks like “Mad Max” in Lego form.

The situation only gets worse when several characters, including Lucy, are kidnapped by the new foe. As a result, it’s up to Emmet to go on a rescue mission and save his friends.

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REVIEW: ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ without the magic

What a disappointment.

After several decades, the character Mary Poppins has finally returned to the big screen. The new film with the iconic character takes place several years after the original, but follows some of the main characters. The Banks siblings, Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael (Ben Whishaw), are now grown and Michael has children of their own.

However, times are tough again for the family, as Michael’s wife has passed away and bills are piling up. In fact, Michael’s financial troubles lead to the possibility of him losing the house. Because of all the difficulties, Poppins (Emily Blunt) arrives again to help get things back on track.

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REVIEW: Black and Blanchett elevate otherwise forgettable ‘House with Clocks’

I can’t say that I ever expected Jack Black and Cate Blanchett to make a good onscreen duo, but here we are.

The two performers appear on the big screen in this fantasy film, directed by Eli Roth. While they headline the picture, though, the main character of the picture is Lewis, played by Owen Vaccaro. The film’s opening finds Lewis moving to Michigan to live with his uncle Jonathan (Black) after the death of his parents. Not long after Lewis moves in, he soon finds out that both his uncle and his uncle’s friend Florence (Blanchett) are warlocks.

As he begins to learn about the world of magic, Lewis not only finds out that sorcery exists, but that the house he’s living in contains an evil clock with nefarious designs.

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REVIEW: ‘Peter Rabbit’ Is A Good Weekend Matinee Pick For The Family

While I’m somewhat familiar with the “Peter Rabbit” books, I don’t have much of a memory of what they were like. So, I didn’t walk into this movie knowing the, um, lore. As a result, I walked in with a pretty fresh mind and came out of the theater somewhat pleasantly surprised.

As the title suggests, the movie follows the titular character Peter Rabbit, voiced here by James Corden. A mischief maker, Peter often finds himself getting into trouble with the old Mr. McGregor. This usually happens when Peter steals veggies from McGregor’s garden, with help from his sisters and cousin.

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REVIEW: Catchy Songs Don’t Save Rushed Story In ‘Greatest Showman’

I’m not usually a stickler for 100 percent historical accuracy, but even I have to admit that “The Greatest Showman” takes a battle axe to P.T. Barnum’s true story.

The film tells the story of how Barnum (Hugh Jackman) went from a poor boy coming from nothing to a well-known showman who creates entertainment via circus acts. It doesn’t just do this in any ordinary manner, though. Instead, the film goes into full musical mode right off the bat and never lets up.

As the movie goes on, it explores Barnum trying to balance his family life with his wife Charity (Michelle Williams) and his business, which he runs with help from his partner Phillip (Zac Efron).

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REVIEW: ‘Coco’ Works Thanks To Heartfelt Story About Family, Memorable Music

When it comes to musicals, Pixar has usually left the genre to its counterpart Disney Animation Studios. With its latest endeavor, though, Pixar has taken a page out of the Mouse House’s playbook, creating a musical experience with “Coco.”

Keep in mind, “Coco” isn’t a traditional animated musical. However, it’s a movie very much about music and includes numerous songs.

The movie’s protagonist is Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a boy who dreams of becoming a singer and guitarist like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). His family, though, is completely against music and musicians of any sort, finding it to be a curse on their family that began generations ago.

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REVIEW: ‘Leap!’ Held Back By Formulaic Story, Weak Characters

I consider myself quite a bit of an animation fan, so I was fairly disappointed with the recently released “Leap!”

The film focuses on a young orphan girl named Felicie (Elle Fanning), who’s attempting to achieve her dream of being a famous ballet dancer in Paris. With the help of her best friend Victor (Dane DeHaan), the two manage to get away from the orphanage and make it to the City of Lights.

Felicie eventually makes it to the ballet dance school and there she meets a former dancer named Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen), who decides to help her get a spot in the intense learning environment. Not only does Felicie have to deal with a rough dance education, though, she also ends up having a rival with another young dancer named Camille (Maddie Ziegler).

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