This new “Fantastic Beasts” movie just reminds me the last “Harry Potter” came out more than 10 years ago, when I was still in college. Where does time go?
While there’s been some time since “Harry Potter” ended, though, the Wizarding World is carrying on. The latest franchise installment is the third entry in the “Fantastic Beasts” saga, with Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) still posing a threat to the magic nations.
In response to the Grindelwald threat, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) recruits a team including beasts expert Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), American charms professor Lally Hicks (Jessica Williams), Scamander’s brother Theseus who’s an elite dark wizard catcher and WWI veteran Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler). Dumbledore has to rely on this team, as there’s a spell preventing him from battling Grindelwald directly.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Secrets of Dumbledore’ entertains, but is far too disjointed”
After this movie, you’ll never look at googly eyes the same way again.
This film stars Michelle Yeoh as a woman, Evelyn, who owns and operates a laundromat with her husband, Waymond (Jonathan Ke Quan). Their marriage has become strained, though, and she doesn’t have the best relationship with her daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu), either. On top of her family matters, Evelyn also has to deal with an audit into the laundromat by the IRS.
At a meeting with an IRS employee, Evelyn is contacted by different version of her husband from another universe who informs her that she may be the only being in the multi-verse who can prevent a calamity. To do so, Evelyn will have to tap into abilities from other versions of herself from alternate universes.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ is excellent”
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”
Trying to do two things at once can sometimes be pulled off, but it can also lead to a mess. This “Mulan” film is definitely a situation of the latter.
The film stars Yifei Liu as Mulan, a young woman who doesn’t exactly fit in at her community in rural China. Around the time that she’s getting forced to meet with a matchmaker, another area of China is being invaded by Rouran warriors, led by their commander Bori Khan (Jason Scott Lee) and magical witch, Xianniang (Li Gong).
In response, the Emperor (Jet Li) orders one man from each Chinese family to join the army to defend the nation. Mulan’s father is enlisted, but he has a permanent leg injury and already fought in a previous war. Knowing he would be in danger, Mulan decides to join the war in his place, disguising herself as a man in the process.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Despite spectacle, ‘Mulan’ mostly stumbles”
“The Old Guard” is a pretty accurate title because this film doesn’t offer many new tricks.
The movie stars Charlize Theron as Andy, an immortal woman who’s lived for centuries as a warrior. She is the leader of a group of immortal fighters who’ve come together as a group of mercenaries. The film picks up with the team getting hired by Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a man who’s heard of their skills in combat.
However, the group soon learns that they were set up by Copley, who wants to conduct research on the immortals as part of a pharmaceutical scheme. Meanwhile, Nile (KiKi Layne), a U.S. soldier in the Middle East, learns that she too is immortal and ends up joining the mercenaries in their work to evade Copley’s associates.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Old Guard’ flops despite strong premise”
I’ve been doing this for nearly 12 years, and every so often there’s a movie so bad it tempts me to walk out of the theater or hit the stop button. “Artemis Fowl” has joined that club.
Ferdia Shaw plays the titular character Artemis Fowl (Jr.). He’s a certified child genius who still has to go to school for some reason, and lives at a mansion with his father, Artemis Fowl Sr., and his butler, Domovoi (Nonso Anozie).
One day, his father goes missing, and is blamed for stealing several priceless artifacts. Artemis soon learns that his father has also been kidnapped by a mysterious figure. The antagonist tells Fowl he has to get an artifact to get his dad back. As it turns out, a civilization of fantasy creatures including fairies also want the same artifact. As a result, Artemis needs to deal with both entities to save his father.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Artemis Fowl’ is atrocious”
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”
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.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Third ‘Dragon’ ends the series on a positive note”
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.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ without the magic”
Despite rocky a rocky reception over several movies, the DC Comics Cinematic Universe still has movies coming out. The latest is this feature following the hero of the deep.
“Aquaman” takes place after the events of last year’s “Justice League” and follows the water-based hero, played by Jason Momoa, whose actual name is Arthur. Embracing the idea of being a hero, Arthur has taken it upon himself to fight crime and rescue people on the high seas.
However, while this is taking place, the politics of his estranged home Atlantis are turning dangerous. Arthur’s half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson), who’s now a ruler in Atlantis, is fed up with humans negatively impacting the ocean and now wants to launch a war. In order to stop the potential conflict, another Atlantis royal, Mera (Amber Heard), recruits Arthur to take his place as the true king.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Aquaman’ is flawed, but fun”