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!
Sometimes you see a movie that will just not leave your brain as questions keep running through your head about what it all meant and what it was trying to say. I guess this is TECHNICALLY one of those movies, but certainly not for the reasons the filmmakers hoped for because I have nothing but contempt for the asinine questions that I’m left with after watching the damn thing which is made even worse because there ARE no answers. This was just a super sloppy movie PRETENDING it knew what the hell it was doing and it utterly failed to convince me otherwise. Since keeping things bottled up is not a particularly healthy way to deal with something, I decided to let YOU all know what questions I was pondering while watching this silly film and how the movie fails to address them in any adequate or satisfying way! Before that though, let’s have a full rundown of the plot so that you all have a better idea of where I’m coming from if you haven’t seen the movie. Trust me, I’d rather spend my time recounting it here than make ANYONE feel like they’d have to sit through this drivel just to understand what the heck I’m talking about! FULL SPOILERS AHEAD!!
The Commuter and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Now that the end of year hold overs are finishing up their rounds at the box office, it’s time for the TRUE January releases to show themselves which are becoming less associated with absolutely dreadful movies with each successive year, but can still be considered a dumping ground for stuff the studios felt couldn’t hack it in more competitive months. I guess a Liam Neeson action flick isn’t the WORST way to herald in the New Year, but then I’m pretty sure there are people who still wake up in a cold sweat thinking about Taken 3 and the infamous fourteen cut fence jump. Will this movie be another strike against the increasingly fragile belief that January films tend to be terrible, or will this only reinforce those notions for yet another year? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with exceedingly average older white dude Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) going about his daily routine and living the exceedingly average older white dude life. That is until he gets fired from his exceedingly average older white dude job for lousy capitalist reasons, and is now facing the prospect of financial ruin; right before his son heads off to college too! Things seem rather for the guy as he boards the train with nothing to look forward to other than telling his family the devastating news, but fortune seems to be in his favor as a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga) offers him twenty-five grand now and seventy-five grand later if he can just do one small insignificant thing. Find a person on this train that has something of value in their bag, is traveling to Cold Spring, and goes by the name “Prynne”. The woman gets off at the next stop and while Michael is more than happy to hold onto that twenty-five grand she gave him up front, he feels a bit hesitant about finding this person to claim the other seventy-five. Fortunately for THE BAD GUYSTM that the mysterious woman is forking for, as well as the audience I guess, they kidnapped his family anyway so he has no choice but to find the passenger known as “Prynne” before anything happens to them! Will Michael not only find “Prynne” but figure out what THE BAD GUYSTM are planning to do once they find them? What can Michael do when every move he makes is being watched by THE BAD GUYSTM… somehow? How many non-Taken Taken movies is Liam Neeson gonna have to make before they give him one that doesn’t suck!?