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: ‘Us’ provides the thrills but is undercut by consistency issues

“Us,” definitely not to be confused with the drama show “This is Us,” is the latest picture from Writer/Director Jordan Peele.

The film tells the story of Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), who’s visiting a beach vacation home with her family, which includes her husband Gabe (Winston Duke), daughter Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and son Jason (Evan Alex).

While Adelaide is has some reservations about being in the area again because of some bad memories from her past, she tries to make the most of her vacation with her family. Things seem to be going OK until night falls and the family is confronted in their vacation home by a group of doppelgangers.

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REVIEW: ‘Captain Marvel’ soars in first film

Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than the locomotive. I’m talking about Captain Marvel, of course.

The latest film from Marvel just so happens to feature a hero named Captain Marvel. Her real name is Carol Danvers, though, and she’s portrayed by Academy Award winner Brie Larson. The film picks up with her living on a planet controlled by the Kree, a powerful alien empire. She’s commonly referred to with the name Vers and is a member of the Kree special ops squad, Starforce.

In the first act, it’s established that Vers doesn’t remember anything before she became a member of Starforce. However, she remains focused on her mission, which is to fight against Skrulls, another alien race perceived as terrorists by the Kree. Through a series of events, that mission eventually leads her to Earth, where she meets SHIELD Agent Nick Fury. Witnessing the Skrull situation, Fury decides to partner with Vers and the two work together on the mission. In doing so, the protagonist learns more about her past.

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REVIEW: ‘Greta’ has just enough entertainment value

I can’t say “Greta” featured some great decisions by its characters. However, this one has enough thrills to get by.

“Greta” doesn’t open with the character Greta (Isabelle Huppert), but rather the film’s protagonist Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz). A new resident to New York City, Frances is trying to move on with her life in the big city months after the death of her mother. The film picks up with her riding the subway back from work, and once she gets to her stop, she notices a purse.

Because the lost and found center at the subway office is closed, she looks at the ID card in the bag and find’s Greta’s address, determined to return it herself. Her endeavor is successful and Frances meets Greta, a kind woman who lives on her own. The two start on friendly terms, but Frances soon learns that Greta is rather obsessive.

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Monday Movie Report: Writers Guild winners

One of this award season’s biggest shockers took place Sunday night during the Writers Guild of America award ceremony.

At the annual event, “Eighth Grade,” written (and directed) by Bo Burnham, won the prize for Best Original Screenplay from the WGA. The win was a major upset, beating out the likes of “Green Book” and “Roma.”

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REVIEW: Against all odds, ‘Alita’ is still worth checking out

There’s a lot to unpack here with this movie so let’s just jump right in.

“Alita: Battle Angel” is based on a Japanese comic book (better known as manga), with a similar name. The original source material, which eventually had an animated adaptation, was titled “Battle Angel Alita.”

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REVIEW: ‘Isn’t it Romantic’ has the laughs, charm to engage an audience

This isn’t the first time the romcom genre has been poked at in satirical fashion, and likely won’t be the last. In terms of quality, “Isn’t it Romantic” isn’t the best or worst of its kind, but falls somewhere in the middle.

“Romantic” centers on Natalie (Rebel Wilson) an architect who lives a fairly straightforward life, but is rather skeptical of love, largely because of her hatred of romantic-comedies.

Her worst nightmare is realized, though, when one day she wakes up in a generic romcom world, complete with perfect jobs, romantic rivals and even somewhat of a love triangle.

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REVIEW: While not as fresh as original, ‘Death Day 2’ will entertain

“Happy Death Day 2U,” a follow-up to a 2017 thriller, is the kind of sequel that seems to be in search of a reason to exist. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad to watch.

The movie picks up right where the first movie left off. Theresa (Jessica Rothe), who casually goes by Tree, put an end to a time-loop where she was living the same day over and over and in doing so, made several changes to improve her life.

However, she soon finds out that her issues aren’t completely over. In the first act she learns that her boyfriend’s roommate Ryan (Phi Vu) is actually one of three students working at her university’s science lab. There, the students have created a device that can cause disturbances in space and time. As a result, Tree, and this time her new friends, are put into a position of having to make fixes to the space time continuum, while also dealing with a murderer on the loose.

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REVIEW: ‘What Men Want’ is a forgettable, generic feature

The question of what women want was answered with a movie starring Mel Gibson, so naturally there’s an alternate version titled “What Men Want,”… 18 years later.

This time around, the movie follows Ali Davis (Taraji Henson), a businesswoman working at a sports talent management agency, looking for her next promotion. With the next NBA draft right around the corner, Ali is hoping to sign the next big basketball star and earn the promotion she thinks she deserves. However it doesn’t go that way and the promotion ends up going to one of her office rivals.

Not long after, Ali goes to a bachelorette party, still angry about the situation at work, especially in regard to the misogynistic nature of the business. At the party, though, during a meeting with a psychic, Ali somehow picks up the power to hear what men are thinking. While she’s hesitant at first, Ali eventually decides to use the ability to her advantage.

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REVIEW: ‘Cold Pursuit’ is a great dark comedy

There’s no doubt most, including myself, saw the trailer for “Cold Pursuit” and ‘thought here we go again.’ Since he appeared in 2009’s “Taken,” Liam Neeson has become somewhat of an action star, mostly in the taking revenge variety. In that recent filmography, the flicks have been hit or miss.

Thankfully, I can report “Cold Pursuit” is one of the good ones.

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