Tag Archives: Angela Lansbury

Cinema Dispatch: Mary Poppins Returns

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Mary Poppins Returns and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Rob Marshall

Well this one has certainly been a long time coming, hasn’t it?  I mean with the pace at which Disney is cannibalizing its older properties to make billions at the box office, it was only a matter of time before one of their most iconic features gets a shiny coat of HD paint!  Just over the horizon, we still have The Lion King, Dumbo, Mulan, Aladdin, and the list will certainly keep growing from there.  Still, this isn’t quite a Beauty and the Beast shameless shot for shot retelling of an animated feature since this is an ACTUAL sequel that continues from the original film!  It’s been so long since I’ve seen the first Mary Poppins that I’m not sure what to expect here, but the cast is strong and Rob Marshall is made for this kind of material.  Will it be a fun and engaging experience for audiences of all ages who need a little bit of nonsense and silliness in their lives, or has modern Disney failed to understand what made that classic film so memorable for so many people?  Let’s find out!!

The movie picks up about twenty years after the first one where the Banks Children are now the Banks Adults.  Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) has had a particularly rough go of it as his wife had just died a year ago and he had to give up his dreams of being an artist to get a job at the bank, but he’s still go the house he grew up in and three perfect children (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, and Joel Dawson); not to mention his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) who helps around the house between labor protests, and their housekeeper Ellen (Julie Walters) who’s still cleaning up after them all these years later.  They’ve weathered a storm so things can only be looking up, right?  Well as it turns out, Michael took out a big loan at the bank to cover expenses this last year and now they’re gonna repossess the house unless he can pay the loan back in full within five days.  Well shoot!  If only they had a magical nanny who could make all this better with songs and animation!  Well it turns out that the Banks family is in luck because whatever mystical force is watching over them has sent Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) to once again fix their problems and watch the kids while Michael and Jane try to scramble to find their father’s old bank stock they could use to possibly pay off the loan.  With the help of a friendly lamplighter named Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and various colorful characters including her cousin Topsy (Meryl Streep), Mary Poppins is on a divine mission to introduce a bit of whimsy and discipline into these children’s lives, and maybe help Michael and Jane rediscover their childhoods along the way!  Will Michael and Jane find what they need to save their childhood home?  What can the kids do to help the situation, and can Mary Poppins be the key to it all?  Why the heck didn’t I get a flying magical nanny when I was a kid?  I don’t even think they had to pay her!

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“The price for my services is either two hundred dollars a week or you can just hand over your soul to empower the dark forces tucked away within me.”     “Well I’m already paying my student loans each month…”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Grinch

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The Grinch and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney

Is it already time for the holiday season?  Can’t we postpone it for another three months or something?  No, of course not.  The only thing as certain in life as Death and Taxes is the ever expanding period of time known as THE HOLIDAY SEASON where good will and cheer are sold to us in gift baskets and wrapping paper.  If you couldn’t tell already I’m not the biggest fan of the season’s greatest excesses even if I do take some joy in trying to find the perfect gifts for people and buying the shiny wrapping paper to put it in.  Still, it’d be nice if we could contain it to the month of December, but no; were stuck with Holiday Music, Holiday Sales, and of course… Holiday Movies.  With Illumination having already turned The Lorax into a rather detestable piece of confused anti-corporate nonsense, they’re back to the Dr. Seuss well to turn the man’s most beloved creation into yet another big screen adaptation just in time for theaters to start hanging up the tinsel.  Will this be an improvement on the studio’s previous output, or are we in for yet more Illumination mediocrity?  Let’s find out!!

You see, every Who down in Whoville likes Christmas a lot which is good for keeping the economy strong and red hot!  But the Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) who lives just north of Whoville does not seem pleased.  Perhaps a trip to the store will put him at ease.  With his dog Max in tow, he treks through the snow, to the city of Whoville to where all he can think is NO.  No to the consumerism, no to the cheer, just get him to the grocery store to buy provisions and beer.  Along the way he meets Cindy Lou Who (Cameron Seely), who seems nice enough, but has nothing to do in this rather thin plot.  There’s a story I guess about her finding Santa, but really she’s on hand to be cute and her likeness used on promotional bottles of Fanta.  Anyway, The Grinch takes a while to get properly pissed, but he eventually decides that something is amiss.  This lousy holiday just makes him way too stressed, so perhaps he’ll steal Christmas and you know the rest!  Will he find happiness in ruining this day for others, or is there a way for him to live peacefully with his Who brothers?  Will Cindy Lou Who find the answers she needs, or will her tale be lost in the script weeds?  The question of course on everyone’s mind is why should I see this when Netflix is only $13.95!?  No wait, it’s $13.99.  DANG IT!!

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“I’m ready to call this day a total loss.  How about you?”

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