Blinded by the Light and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by Gurinder Chadha
See, I was confused about this movie when I first heard about it because of the title. Blinded by the Light is a Manfred Mann song, right? I’m not the only one who thought this? Well apparently it WAS a Springsteen song first which either goes to show my utter lack of musical knowledge or just how much THE BETTER VERSION has overshadowed the original. Seriously, they play the Springsteen version at one point, and I was pretty much meh on it. The song NEEDS those chopsticks! ANYWAY! Since Boomer Music is all the rage these days we were surely going to get the Springsteen movie at some point, and for someone like me who barely knows anything about the guy (Baby We Were Born to Run, Born in the USA, and… well that’s about it), this might be the perfect way to educate me about his place is musical history while also telling a compelling narrative about an immigrant family in Thatcher’s Britain since this is apparently based on a true story about a guy I’ve never heard of. A movie about a musician I know nothing about told through the life story of a person I know nothing about. Probably should have done some homework ahead of time, but regardless of all that; is this a good movie about the music that inspired a man to live out his dreams? Let’s find out!
Javed Khan (Viveik Kalra) is your typical Pakistani teenager living in Britain in the late 1980s; facing discrimination from skinheads in the neighborhood and barely getting along with his family at home. His father expects him to get a high paying (and very boring) job once he graduates from college and until then he studies, he works lousy jobs, and he stays away from all the white kids having parties and premarital sex; the only solace from the drudgery being the poems and essays he writes every day. Not for mass consumption of course since his father would never approve, but it’s at least SOMETHING that makes him a little bit happier. If only there was someone out there who can open his eyes to the world he’s missing out on! If only there was a… musical artist let’s say, who understands his plight and can reach him on an emotional level that nothing else has before! Well luckily for Javed, he meets someone at school named Roops (Aaron Phagura) who tells him about… The Boss. Have you heard the good word about The Boss? Well in case you hadn’t heard, The Boss is Bruce Springsteen and he writes music that transcends generation, nationality, and race; so much so that this sad Pakistani teenager gets a new lease on life after two cassettes worth of rock and roll goodness! Can Javed turn his life around and start to follow his dreams instead of living up to the expectations of his father? How will his family react to his new taste in music and the rebellious attitude that comes along with it? Can he REALLY pull off the sleeveless flannel look? Then again, can any of us?
Holmes & Watson and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Etan Cohen
Oh goody! Will Ferrell and John C Reilly are teaming up once again to make a silly comedy! That’s gonna be GREAT, right!? RIGHT!? Okay fine, they don’t have THE BEST track record out there, but I still don’t want to dismiss this out of hand! I mean… I probably SHOULD, considering how… not very good the trailer was, but those don’t always faithfully represent the full movie, and they wouldn’t just dump this right in the middle of a VERY busy time of the year just to die a quiet death, right!? Well I guess we’re gonna have to see if that’s the case, though for both of their sakes as box office draws, I hope they put quite a bit of effort into this one. Does this send up of Sherlock Holmes manage to capture the spirit of the books while also making a laugh out loud comedy, or is this a joke that’s way too late to the party and would have been an utter embarrassment even if it WAS timely? Let’s find out!!
Sherlock Holmes (Will Ferrell) is somehow England’s greatest detective despite being an utter fool who makes obvious mistakes over and over again, but I guess he’s got a good hype man in his partner John Watson (John C Reilly) who seems to be keeping at least some of his worst tendencies in check while also pumping him up to the general public through his novels about their various crime solving adventures. However, this latest caper involving a murder at Buckingham Palace and the threat of death upon The Queen (Pam Ferris) if Sherlock doesn’t find the killer first is just the kind of mystery that will put his mind and their friendship through the ultimate test! Complicating matters is the fact that Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes) is still at large but may have fled to the Americas as well as a new doctor in town Rose Hudson (Kelly MacDonald) as well as her… assistant I guess, Millie (Lauren Lapkus), who have both captured the hearts of our dynamic duo. Will Sherlock be able to crack the case before this mystery tears him AND his straining friendship with Watson apart at the seams? Will Watson finally get the nerve to demand more respect and an equal title as co-detective with Sherlock who is notoriously egotistical and not one to share the spotlight? Is it even possible for THE GREATEST DETECTIVE ALIVE to get to the bottom of how this utter fiasco made it into theaters!?
Early Man and all the images you see in this review are owned by Aardman Animations and StudioCanal
Directed by Nick Park
I remember watching those Wallace and Gromit shorts many times when I was a kid on VHS tapes (none of which I still have), and while I haven’t been keeping up with Aardman TOO much in the last decade, I have always respected them as a studio and have had nothing but good things to say about their work; including that Pirates movie which seems to have had a much more mixed reception than a lot of their other work. Now we’ve got their most auditions work to date; not because it’s a particularly out there or unexpected from the studio, but because they had the gall to open it against Black Panther! I mean I guess it goes with the David and Goliath underdog story this movie is trying to tell, but something tells me that the forward thinking and groundbreaking black centered super hero movie is gonna do a SMIDGE more business than this silly cartoon. Does Aardman’s latest adventure hold up to the high pedigree that they’ve set for themselves over their long and prestigious filmography, or have the masters of clay lost their touch in this latest outing? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Dug (Eddie Redmayne) who is the youngest and the most wide-eyed member of a tribe of cavemen that spends their days hunting rabbits and playing primitive instruments. Dug dreams of something more though, like possibly hunting BIGGER animals (maybe even a Mammoth), yet the leader Chief Bobnar (Timothy Spall) doesn’t feel like rocking the boat is the best thing for the tribe; especially when everyone else is so incompetent that they can manage to catch rabbits. Still, the march of time is a cruel one and one day the tribe is uprooted from their idyllic homes by the war machines and mining equipment of Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston); leader of a nearby town that has advanced to the Bronze Age. Through a series of convoluted missteps and slapstick humor, Dug ends up tripping falling into the Bronze Age city and even gets stuck right in the middle of their sacred arena where the mightiest warriors gather for the crowd’s amusement. What exactly do they DO in the arena? Fight to the death? Feed Christians to lions? NO! They play SOCCER of course! You know, that one game that everyone else calls football that we in the US only seem to care about once every four years! Dug, seeing how much the people of this town crave the sport and treat as sacrosanct, challenges Lord Nooth and his best players to a match against him and his tribe! If Lord Nooth wins, he can keep their homeland, but if Dug wins they get it back! Can Dug and his tribe manage to learn how play just in time to beat the very best players the Bronze Age has to offer? Will Dug’s new friend Goona (Maisie Williams) be the ringer they need to secure victory and will she finally get to live out her dreams of glory on the football pitch? More importantly, can FIFA find a way to somehow turn this into an excuse to plunder a country of its riches and bully local governments!?
The Huntsman: Winter’s War and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
I really haven’t been looking forward to this. Cutting Snow White out of a sequel to Snow White? Yeah… no. This exists simply because Chris Hemsworth had a weekend free between Captain America and In the Heart of the Sea. Still, the first movie was a pretty solid fantasy film that had drop dead gorgeous designs and if nothing else that seems to have carried over here. Not only that, but they managed to somehow get Charlize Theron back, and while the explanation will probably be dumb as hell, she WAS one of the best aspects of the first film. Can they manage to squeeze out ONE decent sequel before driving this franchise into the dirt, or is it too late to even hope for that much? Let’s find out!!
First of all, this movie is very much a sequel despite the advertising that states otherwise. It STARTS as a prequel, but only to fill in the backstories for the characters who weren’t around for the first movie. Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) was murdering her way through the fantasy kingdom’s royal families when her sister Freya (Emily Blunt) reveals that she is not only in love, but pregnant as well. Despite the careful warnings of her sister, Freya goes all in on love and gets seriously burned. Okay, well maybe SHE doesn’t get burned, but her baby does as she finds her one true love has torched the nursey with the baby inside. Ouch. This traumatic incident is enough to not only awaken Freya’s hidden ice powers, but to essentially make her emotionally dead and disdainful of love. Since grief council apparently doesn’t exist in this world, she instead takes out her pain on the Northern part of the country (it’s ALWAYS in the North where things we don’t know about until later happened) where she creates her icy doom fortress and raids villages for children to raise as her Huntsmen. Two such huntsmen are Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain) who fall in love which is strictly forbidden in the snow palace, so Sara’s killed and Eric is left for dead. Got it? Good. We THEN cut to the present time (not too long after the first movie) where Snow White (who apparently is still in this except not really) has ordered the mirror mirror on the wall to be sent away where its wicked powers cannot hurt anyone. Unfortunately, the convoy delivering it to some vaguely defined sacred place never reached their destination so she requests the huntsman to go out there, find the damn thing, and finish delivering it before it can fall into the wrong hands. Say… those of the Ice Queen? He heads out on the journey with Nion and Gryff (Nick Frost and Rob Brydon) who are two dwarves (one of whom is from the first movie) and try to figure out just what the hell happened to the mirror and the convey. But wait! Not all is as it seems as Eric is soon confronted with Sara who somehow is still alive and super pissed! How did she manage to recover from being murdered? Will this little posse of fantasy bad asses be able to find the mirror before it’s too late? Just how blatantly are they ripping off Frozen in this!?