Peter Pan & Wendy Review

Peter Pan is one of those stories that are forever part of our collective childhoods. The story of the boy who never grew up forever lives in our hearts as a fantasy and perhaps for some, wishful thinking.

The newest adaptation of J.M. Barrie‘s classic tale was released on April 28th on DisneyPlus. Entitled Peter Pan & Wendy, the narrative is much more inclusive than previous adaptations.

Wendy Darling (Ever Anderson) is growing up. Come tomorrow morning, she will be leaving for boarding school. Wendy would prefer to stay at home. That all changes when Peter Pan and Tinkerbell (Alexander Molony and Yara Shahidi) fly through the bedroom window. Following their new friends to Neverland, Wendy and her brothers experience what was only available via bedtime stories.

Along the way, they meet Tiger Lily (Alyssa Wapanatâhk), the Lost Boys (who are not all boys), and of Captain Hook (Jude Law). Hook will do anything to kill Peter once and for all.

There are both good and bad in this film. I appreciated and enjoyed the effort that the creative team made to move to expand this world and its characters. I liked that there was a backstory between Peter and Hook that explained their long-standing rivalry. I also liked that Wendy and Tinkerbell did not fight over Peter (as they had in previous iterations) and the gender and color expansion of the Lost Boys.

What fell short was the explanation as to why Peter and Hook were constantly fighting with one another. It could have been a bit deeper and came off as a little too shallow for me.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Peter Pan & Wendy is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.

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Throwback Thursday: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

The legend of King Arthur is a potent one. A warrior who saves his kingdom from evil, leads a nation into prosperity and creates a democracy within his governing body is an ideal that we all strive for.

One of the newest iterations of the tale is King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017). Charlie Hunnam plays the title role. The purpose of his journey is to free the land and take the throne from his Uncle Vortigern (Jude Law).

This is one of those movies that looks good on paper. The cast is top notch and the narrative is a twist on a story that we all know. The problem is that it is bad. It also, like many films, has a lack of female characters, as compared to the number of male characters. I was only able to stomach a few minutes of the film before I had to turn it off. It is essentially unwatchable and boring.

Do I recommend it? No.

Captain Marvel Movie Review

Disclaimer: I know nothing about the Captain Marvel comic books, this review is strictly based on the movie. 

These days, movie-goers have a certain expectation when it comes to movies that are based on comic book super heroes.

Captain Marvel was released into theaters a few weeks ago. Vers (Brie Larson) is a Kree, super-human alien like race. She is a member of the elite Starforce Military. Her mentor and commander Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) tries to teach Vers to control her emotions and her powers. Vers is captured by the Skrull, a shape shifting alien race that has been at war with the Kree for years. During her captivity, the memories of another life and another identity as Carol Danvers starts to become more prominent.

After escaping from her captors, Vers crashes to earth. Landing in a Blockbuster Video, she is greeted by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Together, they will uncover the truth of Vers’s past and the hard truth about the Skrull lead by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn).

It’s not a secret that women in super hero movies, especially in leading roles that are not the love interest or significant other, are few and far between. What this film has going for it is humor, a strong female lead and a villain who is not really a villain. In most super hero narratives, there is a clear delineation between the hero and the villain. But in this movie, that line is not so clear.

I wanted to like this film as much as I liked the other Marvel films. But there is something missing from this film.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Captain Marvel is presently in theaters. 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Movie Review

When a fan of successful series of movies walks into the theater for the next chapter in the story, there is hope that this new film lives up the reputation of its predecessors. But sometimes, that hope springs eternal.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hit theaters this weekend. At the beginning of the film, Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has escaped from the authorities. His ideal world is one where wizards rule and non-magical humans are second class citizens. He needs Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) to see his plan to completion, but Credence has other goals. It’s up to Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol) and Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) with help on the back end from Dumbledore (Jude Law) to stop Grindelwald and find Credence.

Other reviews of this film have been tepid. While the film suffers from sequel-itis, in terms of other sequels, it could be a lot worse. I especially appreciated the ending. It answered the major question of the narrative, while leaving enough narrative strings for the next film.

I recommend it.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is presently in theaters. 


Throwback Thursday- Finally, A Good Rom Com- The Holiday (2006) & Something’s Got To Give (2003)

The romantic comedy genre (shortened to rom com) is a pretty basic genre. Two people meet and something sparks between them. But there are boundaries, acted out in a light and funny way, to what may be their happy ending. While there are many rom coms that are formulaic and predictable from the get go, thankfully there are a few movies within the genre that are not.

In The Holiday (2006), Amanda (Cameron Diaz), who lives in Los Angeles and Iris (Kate Winslet), who lives near London, are having relationship issues. Needing a break from their lives, they meet on a house swapping website and agree to live in each others homes during the holiday.  In England, Amanda meets Iris’s brother, Graham (Jude Law). In Los Angeles, Iris meets Amanda’s 90 year old neighbor, Arthur (the late Eli Wallach) who helps her to regain her confidence while she starts to fall for Miles (Jack Black), one of Amanda’s colleagues.

While I normally don’t care for Jude Law or Jack Black, both are charming in this movie. Jude Law, playing a Cary Grant-esque Graham and Jack Black, without resorting to his usual man boy clownish acting are genuine in their parts.

What I like about this movie is that it is simple and sweet without being too predictable. We can all agree that every genre has it’s standard plot markers. But this movie reaches those plot markers without the audience feeling like they saw it comes a mile away.

In Somethings Got To Give (2003), Erica Barry (Diane Keaton) is a successful playwright. Her thirty something daughter Marin (Amanda Peet) brings her much older boyfriend Harry Sandhorn (Jack Nicholson) to her mother’s Long Island home for the romantic weekend. Marin does not know that her mother and aunt Zoe (Frances McDormand) are there. After suffering a heart attack, Harry is rushed to the hospital where he is treated by Dr. Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves) who develops a crush on Erica.

At the time of the movie’s release, there was a bit of a kerfuffle in regards to the brief frontal nudity of Diane Keaton. But it was so brief that the audience had to blink or they would miss it. That aside, what I like about this movie is that Keaton and Nicholson, for once, are age appropriate for on screen romantic couple. Adding Reeves and Peet to this very odd love square was a wise touch by the screenwriter.

I recommend both.


Anna Karenina- A Review

Let me start this review with a disclaimer. I have not read the book, nor have I seen previous cinematic recreations of Anna Karenina.  Up until tonight, I was a Tolstoy virgin.

The basic plot of Anna Karenina revovles around a married 19th century Russian aristocrat who embarks on an affair with dashing calvary officer with scandalous results.

Keira Knightley is the title character, Jude Law is her husband and Aaron Johnson is the calvary officer.

My main draw to see this movie was the cast and Joe Wright’s history of making a credible leap from novel to film. One of the strengths of this film is Joe Wright’s ability to use actors who he knows will work for the role and with the other actors.

Would I order this movie on DVD? Probably not, but if it was on TV and nothing else was on, I would probably watch it.

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