Frankly, we were prepared to be mildly disappointed and to cluck our tongues at the Mouse and wag our fingers at all of his hubris as we sat down to watch Toy Story 4. Nobody asked for this sequel. It was foolish to get this franchise out of the vault after you delivered an absolutely perfect trilogy with the most beautiful ending you could ask for. But you know what? They did it. Toy Story 4 can look it’s predecessors square in the eye as it has just as much humor, heart, and a wonderful, emotionally rewarding finale. Not to mention it’s the best looking Toy Story yet. This is a movie that was made for everyone, and it delivers the goods.
Jim and I have seen the latest installment in the long running Men in Black franchise, Men in Black: International. And it’s okay. It’s fun and entertaining, largely because Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth are fun and entertaining people who have an easy chemistry. The plot is twisty, but not very smart, and the whole thing just struggles to find the big red “hyperspace” button that would get it into orbit where it belongs. But if all you’re looking for is a bit of 90s nostalgia in a forgettable summer flick package, Men in Black: International will do.
Jim and I went to see the latest X-Men flick, Dark Phoenix. It’s not as bad as it’s Rotten Tomatoes rating would imply, but it’s certainly not good. And it’s unfortunately because once again a classic X-Men plotline is burnt (refried, in this case) and all-time great Magneto and Professor X performances by Fassbender and MacElvoy are wasted on a script with muddled characters and paper thin villains. Long time fans of the X-Men will enjoy some great stand alone moments with their favorite characters, and the core chemistry of Xavier / Magneto / Mystique work to get the film’s emotional heart a brief jump. But ultimately the film folds underneath the weight of apathy and ugly FX work.
Jim and I are both long-time fans of Godzilla, and we’re here to report that this here is a really great Godzilla… trapped in a really, really dumb film. Godzilla: King of the Monsters has never looked better, has never been more bad@ss, has never been a meaner lizard, the problem is the homo sapiens that keep interrupting the truly amazing kaiju action we’re getting here. If you can find a dumber lot of heroes and villains in a major motion picture, we’d like to see them. Worse, there are zero stakes because apparently it’s not possible for these morons to die unless they’re faceless extras or it’s the dramatically appropriate time for them to die, but again this film doesn’t understand drama or tension, so that doesn’t really work, either. This would be a really fun film to rip on and root for the monsters on a lazy Saturday with your best friends, but it ain’t worth the time going out to see it. We’ll hope for better next week with the X-Men as we get a first look at Dark Phoenix!
If you’re wishing for a three-way review of Disney’s latest live-action adaptation, Aladdin, then listener you’re in luck. Wish granted. Cecily, Jim, and I went to see it tonight with appropriately low expectations, but were very pleasantly surprised at how much fun and energy the movie provided. Better, the script smartly adapted the original, improving it’s pacing while also adding depth to Jafar’s intrigue and Jasmine’s character, making it smarter and more relatable to modern audiences. The Tomatometer is kinda brutal for Al and friends right now (59% as of this writing), so take our review with a grain of salt. And we’re still skeptical of the long term viability of these live-action adaptations, but we feel like this movie is proof that they aren’t necessarily doomed to be pointless wastes of time.
Jim and I take a belated look at the latest installment in the John Wick saga, Chapter 3: Parabellum. JW3:B, has some of the finest action sequences we’ve ever seen, but it’s also rapidly approaching diminishing returns in terms of quantity over quality. We’re all for combat innovations including insane knife work, horse and dog augmented combat, and up-armored adversaries, but there’s only so many times you can watch Keanu kill a guy with a gun before you start checking your watch. With John Wick 4 looking to keep upping it’s ante, is this momentum sustainable? We’ll look forward to finding out!
Novice Pokemon Trainer A.Ron is joined by S Rank Trainer Cecily to break down the action in Detective Pokemon. We were both surprised at how straightforward a kids film this was. To be fair, we weren’t expecting Deadpool out of a Ryan Reynolds’ starring Pokemon film, but parents looking to be thrown an adult bone over the heads of their children are probably going to be disappointed. Still, it’s relentlessly, almost threateningly cute, and the more into Pokemon you are the more you’ll appreciate the universe and background details they’re packing into the scene.
Jim and I have seen the climax to a decade’s worth of world building in the MCU, Avengers: Endgame, and would like to certify it 100% awesome. Sure, you might quibble with a few cameos you don’t recognize, and the more you’re capable of rolling with the “Rule of Cool” the more you’ll appreciate the spectacle they’re putting on screen. But it’s hard to imagine any fan of superhero movies not respecting what an accomplishment this is; to get so many people across the globe to care about and invest in these characters through 20+ movies that they’ll sit in the dark for 3+ hours laughing and crying with them. How does Marvel top this? Can’t wait to find out.
Jim and I saw the Neil Marshall helmed, David Harbour starring 2019 reboot of Hellboy. And it’s the definition of a mixed bag. Sporting an impressively low 11% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Jim thought the movie was bad, but I borderline loved it. I have no explanation for my critical disparity, and I can see the issues with plot and humor that Jim and others are expressing but… I’ve seen a helluva lot of worse movies this year get better reviews. Am I losing my touch? Or do you just have to be a die hard Hellboy fan to admire what this movie has to offer. It’s a damn shame, because while I think everyone can agree that Harbour makes an excellent Hellboy, the movie isn’t likely to get the sequel his casting deserves.
A.Ron and Jim talk about the latest attempt at a Stephen King adaptation, Pet Sematary. The movie is genuinely scary and horrifying when it wants to be, unfortunately in our opinion they squander a lot of time and goodwill in the first act flailing about conceptually which keeps us from connecting with the characters and setting the way we should. But still, the family dynamics, endangered children, and a great Jon Lithgow performance does just enough to sell us when things that were better off left dead aren’t.