While the COVID-19 coronavirus has yet to come to Bemidji, Minn., the city where I reside, it has reached Minnesota. As a result, I’d like to be careful during this time and do some social distancing, and that means no more trips to the movie theater.
No Dark Universe, no problem.
After the shared cinematic universe idea for Universal’s famous movie monsters crashed, plans were reworked to have more independent, individual films. The first one up is “The Invisible Man,” written and directed by Leigh Whannell. The movie stars Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia, a woman who just left her abusive boyfriend.
Cecilia is shaken from the relationship and is left with anxiety, fearing that her ex, Adrian, (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) will come after her. However, she soon learns that Adrian has supposedly committed suicide. Just as she begins trying to rebuild her life, though, Cecilia begins to feel stalked and terrorized by an unseen force, which she believes is Adrian.
“Upside” is a film with both ups and downs, leaving the overall quality of this film about friendship somewhere in the middle.
The film follows the story of Dell Scott (Kevin Hart), a man out on parole, estranged from his family and looking for a new job. In his search, he crosses paths with Philip (Bryan Cranston), a billionaire who became disabled in an accident and is in need of a life auxiliary.
In a state of depression and with little care to who works for him, Philip decides to hire Dell. Despite both being unenthusiastic about the situation, the two eventually form a friendship which is explored through the rest of the picture.
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.
“The Mule” was a rather perplexing experience. Mainly because the tone was all over the place for so much of the picture.
Earl Stone, played by Clint Eastwood, is the main character of “The Mule.” He’s an older gentleman who had a successful career as a gardener. However, with the rise of the internet his business fell to pieces and his commitment to his job meant he was alienated from his family.
Wanting to still support his family, though, despite being pushed away for his absences, Earl looks for ways to find money and through a chance encounter, becomes a mule for a Mexican drug cartel. Because he’s a simple, nice old man who just likes listening to old tunes and follows the law, Earl actually becomes the perfect drug smuggler. However, the cartel operation as a whole comes under investigation by a federal agent named Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper).
A steampunk world with some fantasy and Hugo Weaving to boot? This should have been a fairly entertaining ride. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with this adaptation.
“Mortal Engines” is set several hundred years in the future where human civilization was devastated following mass explosions. The story picks up with large sections of humanity living in mobile cities that move from place to place, some with more power than others.
The main focus of the story is on Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), who’s seeking revenge against Thaddeus Valentine (Weaving), the head researcher for the (now) mobile city of London, who’s trying to harness the power of old technology from the pinnacle of human civilization. In her adventure, Hester meets Tom (Robert Sheehan), a young museum worker who ends up tagging along.
Just to recap, in about 16 years, we’ve had a “Spider-Man” trilogy, a two-movie “Spider-Man” reboot, another “Spider-Man” reboot with a sequel on the way, and now an animated feature that is completely separate from everything we’ve seen before. Quite the history.
As previously stated, this latest adaptation of the comic book is completely animated and is set in a world where Spider-Man has been a longtime hero and even became a celebrity. The film’s focus, though, is on the character Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a teenager who is just starting a private school, but still enjoys getting into mischief.
On one of those occasions, Miles is bitten by a radio-active spider, just like the actual Spider-Man. Later, the two actually meet by chance when Miles comes across some villains who are trying out a device that can open portals to other dimensions. One thing leads to another and a whole group of Spider-Man superheroes from other worlds appear. As one might guess, they all have to work together to foil the villains’ plot.
The streak, unfortunately, is over.
For roughly a decade, I gave movies made by Disney’s animation studio very high marks, usually a 4/5 or higher, and regularly included them in my top 10 lists at the end of the year. However, “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” which certainly isn’t bad per se, has ended that consistency, as it’s simply mediocre.
More on that in a moment, but let’s look into what this sequel is all about. Unlike this summer’s “Incredibles 2,” which picked up immediately after the first, “Ralph breaks the Internet” is set in the present time and acknowledges the six years that have passed since the original picture, released in 2012.
For those of you who don’t know, this “Venom” movie has basically nothing to do with Spider-Man or the Marvel universe. Sad face.
“Venom” tells the story of Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), a broadcast news reporter who’s had good, consistent success in the journalism industry. His latest story, though, brings him into contact with a powerful pharma exec named Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). Because he asks too many questions in his interview, Drake manages to end Brock’s career.
As Brock struggles to get back on his feet, Drake’s company does unethical experiments, culminating with the forcing of a sentient alien substance to interact with humans. When Brock finds out, he decides to try his hand at investigative journalism again, but this lands him in more trouble when he becomes attached to one of the aliens named Venom. While the two begin at odds, they eventually form a deal to take Drake down.
I’ll admit, when I hear the title, I think of the song at the end of the Disney “Hercules” movie.
In all seriousness, “A Star is Born” is actually a remake of a 1937 film with the same name. In fact, along with this most recent adaptation, that 1937 movie has been remade two other times in 1954 and 1976. This newest version was directed and co-written by Bradley Cooper, who also stars in the film as the lead character Jack.
Jack is a successful musician with plenty of hits, but also faces problems. Not only does one of his ears have a medical issue, but he’s also suffering from alcoholism. Despite, this, though, he meets a talented singer named Ally (Lady Gaga) who’s been overlooked her whole life. Not only do the two strike up a relationship, but Jack also helps Ally get her talent noticed. A strain remains, though, because of Jack’s health.