REVIEW: ‘Tom and Jerry’ is a total loss

“Tom and Jerry” were never my favorite series of classic animated shorts. With this movie, though, I had hope that maybe a modern take on the characters could result in a fun family flick mixing live action with animation.

I was so, so wrong.

As the title suggests, this follows the well known cat and mouse duo of Tom and Jerry. The film starts off with the two now living in New York City. In the Big Apple, Jerry is considering where he’d like to live, while Tom has a dream of being a piano player and has been working on his craft in Central Park. The two eventually run into each other, though, and a bit of chaos ensues.

Eventually, through a series of events, Jerry finds himself at a fancy hotel and decides to settle down. At the same time a young woman who’s looking for work and is known for hustling, ends up getting hired at the hotel just as it’s ready to hold a celebrity wedding. The woman, Kayla (Chloe Grace Moretz), starts the job and is soon tasked with getting rid of Jerry, as the hotel’s reputation can’t handle a mouse being there. To help the situation, she enlists Tom to help.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Tom and Jerry’ is a total loss”

REVIEW: ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ is an enjoyable, mythical ride

Swords, princesses and dragons aren’t exactly new to Disney animated films. But how they’re portrayed here in “Raya and the Last Dragon” is somewhat refreshing.

The movie follows the story of Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran), a young woman exploring a rather desolate land that is made up of five tribes. In the past, the land was much more tranquil and lively, but an event between the five tribes led to an important stone being shattered, which led to the release of evil beings which can turn people to stone.

Only a legendary dragon named Sisu can destroy the evil by putting magic back into the stone once it’s back together. Early in the film, Raya does succeed in finding Sisu (voiced by Nora “Awkwafina” Lum). However, a larger task is getting all of the stone pieces, each held by leaders of the different tribes, and none of them trust each other. Raya and Sisu set off on adventure to accomplish this task, though.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ is an enjoyable, mythical ride”

REVIEW: Character issues make ‘Over the Moon’ a misfire

The year 2020 hasn’t been my favorite for animation and unfortunately, “Over the Moon” hasn’t helped that case.

The picture, released on Netflix, tells the story of Fei Fei (Cathy Ang), a young girl who became fascinated by the Moon because of stories told by her late mother. At the film’s outset, following the death of her mother, Fei Fei is working with her father at their small pastry company.

Life seems to be carrying on for the family, but the pain of loss still lingers for Fei Fei. That pain is reinforced when her father begins spending time with a woman, Ms. Zhong (Sandra Oh), as the Moon Festival approaches. Eventually, she learns that her father plans to marry Ms Zhong, and as a result, she will likely be getting an annoying step brother in the deal.

Hoping to fix the situation, she builds a craft capable of reaching the moon to speak with an ancient being who resides there. The plan goes a little haywire, though, when it turns out her step-brother-to-be, Chin (Robert Chiu), tagged along for the ride.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Character issues make ‘Over the Moon’ a misfire”

REVIEW: ‘Wolfwalkers’ is a wonderful film with a sweet story

This movie is about the legendary Wolfwalkers, not to be confused with the Timberwolf Walkers, who mainly gather at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

This animated feature takes place in an Irish city during the 1600s and follows a young girl named Robyn (Honor Kneafsey). Robyn’s father Bill (Sean Bean), has been tasked by the city’s ruler (Simon McBurney), to eliminate the area’s wolves, which have threatened livestock and people alike.

Wanting to follow in her father’s footsteps, Robyn also wants to go out and hunt. When she attempts this, though, she comes face to face with the dangerous wolves. However, she is protected by a young girl, Mebh (Eva Whittaker), who has a connection to the wolves. It turns out that Mebh is a wolfwalker who can take the form of the wolf at night. After meeting the two become friends.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Wolfwalkers’ is a wonderful film with a sweet story”

REVIEW: ‘Soul’ is mostly a sour experience

Pete Docter is no stranger to emotional animated features, having directed “Up” and “Inside Out.” He makes another attempt at one in his latest picture, “Soul.”

Jamie Foxx voices Joe in “Soul,” a middle-aged jazz artist and part-time music teacher. One day as he’s about to get a gig he’s been waiting for, he accidentally falls down a manhole. As a result, Joe has an out-of-body experience where his soul travels to a gateway to what’s called the Great Beyond.

Opting not to go, he instead takes another path. There he ends up in the Great Before, where souls form before going to Earth. Not long after his arrival, he meets a stubborn soul named 22 (Tina Fey), who doesn’t find Earth too appealing. The two end up having to work together as the plot develops, though.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Soul’ is mostly a sour experience”

REVIEW: ‘Enola Holmes’ fails to entertain

Sherlock seems to always gets the spotlight in the Holmes family. This time, though, it’s shared with his siblings.

The result? It’s mixed.

The titular character in this film, played by Millie Bobby Brown, is the younger sister of the famous detective Sherlock (Henry Cavill). Enola, a teenager, has grown up in the countryside with her mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter). However, one morning Enola wakes up and her mother is missing.

In response, Enola’s brothers Sherlock and Mycroft (Sam Claflin) are called in to investigate the situation and look after her. Deciding she can manage on her own, though, Enola decides to go to London and figure out the situation by herself. During her trip to London, Enola meets Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge), who’s dealing with his own family troubles.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Enola Holmes’ fails to entertain”

REVIEW: ‘Scoob’ doesn’t have full charm of classic series, but still satisfies

The latest big screen adaptation of “Scooby Doo” isn’t flawless, but it was a refreshing cinematic experience after those terrible live action pictures from the 2000s.

The first minutes of “Scoob” serve as an origin story, showing how Shaggy (Will Forte) met his dog and best friend Scooby Doo (Frank Welker). A short time later, they meet three other kids, Fred (Zac Efron), Daphne (Amanda Seyfried) and Velma (Gina Rodriguez). After the group uncovers a plot involving a fake haunted house, they continue hanging out and become Mystery Inc.

The movie then shifts to the present day where the crew is finding more success, but Shaggy and Scooby are feeling left out. When the two get separated from the other three, they get roped into a mission to save the world by the hero Blue Falcon (Mark Wahlberg) and his robot dog Dynomutt (Ken Jeong). Eventually, the combined Blue Falcon squad and Mystery crew have to team up to take down the villain Dick Dastardly.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Scoob’ doesn’t have full charm of classic series, but still satisfies”

REVIEW: ‘Onward’ offers a dull quest

This movie is all about magic, but doesn’t necessarily have that Pixar magic.

Tom Holland voices Ian in “Onward,” a young elf living in a world that, despite fantasy and magic elements existing, has become like our own modern society. A high schooler, Ian lives with his mom Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and his older brother Barley (Chris Pratt) who hasn’t exactly found his way in life.

Ian’s father Wilden passed away before he was born, something that weighs heavily on him. When he turns 16, though, he receives a staff for his birthday and finds a spell to bring back his dad for one day. He starts the spell, but is only able to bring his dad’s legs back. Knowing they only have a day, Ian and Barley decide to go on a quest to find a way to complete the spell.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Onward’ offers a dull quest”

Best of the Decade: Animation

This is a series called “Best of the Decade.” It’s a list including 10 movies that I found to be the best in a specific genre from 2010-2019.

A Disney resurgence and solid work from other studios meant that the past 10 years had a lot to offer when it came to animated features. Here are my favorites. Also I’m doing 11 for this because this is my list and I’ll do what I want with it.

Continue reading “Best of the Decade: Animation”

REVIEW: Older characters make ‘Jumanji’ sequel a whole bunch of fun

Danny DeVito is a national treasure, so his presence alone gives this “Jumanji” sequel a boost.

“Jumanji: The Next Level,” also known as “Jumanji III” to those of us who like numbered sequels, carries on the stories of Bethany (Madison Iseman), Martha (Morgan Turner), Anthony, who goes by nickname Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) and Spencer (Alex Wolff). The four remained friends after the events of the last “Jumanji” and are planning to meet up during their winter college break over the Christmas season.

Spencer, though, has had trouble adjusting to life at college and away from his friends. His long distance relationship with Martha has also been strained. As a result, Spencer decides to take a risk and enter the dangerous Jumanji video game again. When his trio of friends come looking for him, since he didn’t attend their meetup, they also reluctantly try to join him in the game.

This time, though, they end up bringing Spencer’s grandfather Eddie (DeVito) and Eddie’s former business partner Milo (Danny Glover). Once again the protagonists take the form of in game characters Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black), Franklin Finbar (Kevin Hart) and Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), along with a few new allies, and this time they must go on a rescue mission through the dangerous game.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Older characters make ‘Jumanji’ sequel a whole bunch of fun”