Tag Archives: Movie Review

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Onward Movie Review

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Onward

Two elven brothers embark on a quest to bring their father back for one day.

Why did I watch this movie again?

See that tag line up there? That’s literally the only thing I knew about this movie going in. I saw it on Disney+ and decided, why not?

4 of 5

Characters

Well, with Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, I expected some great characters, and I got them! This film was very much about how the past intersects the now, and each character had a fun story arc and a satisfying ending.

5 of 5

Did I care what happened?

This started off so quirky that I was immediately drawn in. My hubby is a giant D&D nerd, and he was cracking up at all of Barley’s role-playing references. I was totally rooting for the boys to see their dad, but also for their mom’s boyfriend, the manticore and more.

5 of 5

Plot Holes

You know what, I didn’t notice many. Time was strange. And if they’d taken the path of peril they would have been in the middle of nowhere when they ran out of gas, so there’s that. However, nothing pulled me out of the film. I called a few things long before they happened, but that’s not unusual.

4 of 5

How many times did I yawn?

Not once, and for a Sunday afternoon, that’s pretty impressive.

5 of 5

Cool Factor

It’s more like the fun factor. I had zero expectations going in, which probably helped, but every scene in this film pulled me farther into the characters and the story. The animation was good. The creativity was off the charts.

5 of 5

The End

It’s not often that I’m okay with the main character not getting what he wants in the end. At least not in the way I was expecting. However, this is one of the things that surprised me, and I really enjoyed it. Quite satisfying, if not a little sad. And happy. You just need to watch it.

5 of 5

Overall Enjoyment

I laughed and laughed. I even teared up once or twice. I have no idea if kids will like it, but my husband and I really enjoyed it. The little lessons the brothers, and even their mom, learn are awesome. The Manticore had me chortling. As I said before, very clever. I like that.

5 of 5

38

That’s a Black Belt!


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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Movie Review

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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod.

 

Why did I come to this movie again?

All I knew about this movie going in was that it was about Mr. Rogers. I was never a stalwart fan of the show as a kid—I preferred cartoons—but I did watch enough of it to “get” this movie.

5 of 5

 

Characters

I thought the reporter and his wife were amazing! The reporter’s relationship with his father was…well…at first I thought it was too cliché. It’s not hard to figure out that his father is a real jerk and that the reporter hates him. Pretty standard. However, as the movie went on the audience learns little things that make it unique, and when the reporter yells at his father about how his mother died…ack! So powerful. And his apology to his wife after he runs away for a bit. So. Good. These moments made me want to be a better writer.

Okay, I might get shot for this, but while I thought Tom Hanks did a good job, I could tell he was acting. Does that make sense? His Mr. Roger’s persona felt forced to me, and I’m not sure why. It’s not like I know that much about good acting, and Tom Hanks fully got the character across, for some reason Mr. Rogers felt wrong. Fake. Part of the story was to let yourself believe that this man was just that good. It didn’t quite work for me.

4 of 5

 

Did I care what happened?

Yes. Even when scenes between the reporter and his father or his wife made me squirm in my seat, I was riveted to the screen.

5 of 5

 

Plot Holes

I honestly didn’t notice any plot holes. As a matter of fact the hubby and I spent the whole of the credits and the drive home talking about how tight the writing was and how the dang movie made you feel like ten times.

5 of 5

 

How many times did I yawn?

None that I remember. I didn’t catch the hubby dozing off like usual, so that’s a pretty good testament to how well the writers and director kept the tension going even during slower parts of the film.

5 of 5

 

Cool Factor

I loved the little effects they put in with Mr. Roger’s neighborhood and that same style they used for New York and other areas.

I honestly expected a little more nostalgia in the realm of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

One thing that I laughed about is that the movie was trying to make the 90’s nostalgic, which makes me feel old. Very old.

4 of 5

 

The End

Beautiful. Loved it.

5 of 5

 

Overall Enjoyment

It takes a really good drama for me to like it, and I did like this one. I saw a few reviews online saying it was too “feel-good.” Uh, did they ever watch Mr. Rogers? That’s kind of the point of the whole show. Great reminders for children as well as adults on how to cope with our feelings when they become overwhelming.

A fun fact: I spent the whole movie trying to figure out where I’d seen Mr. Roger’s sort of body-guard before. Bill was his name in the show. I finally had to go to IMDB, and I found him in none other than Galaxy Quest! I might not have ever figured that out.

5 of 5

 

38

That’s a Black Belt!


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The Rise of Skywalker Movie Review

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Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker

The surviving members of the resistance face the First Order once again, and the legendary conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its peak bringing the Skywalker saga to its end.

 

Why did I come to this movie again?

Full disclosure, I’m a fan of the original trilogy. I grew up with them and no movie since then has really satisfied me. I tried to love Episode 1, but it didn’t last. 2 and 3 have the bones of a good story but Lucas isn’t the greatest story teller. Like building a beautiful room and then painting it a garish color. Or not finishing the ceiling.

I was excited when Disney took over, because they’d done a really good job with the Marvel Universe. The Force Awakens was okay, but I felt they pandered a little too much to, well, me. A bit too heavy handed with the callbacks to A New Hope. It was more like a retelling than an original movie.

The Last Jedi made me really grouchy. I didn’t mind most of Luke’s story. Everything about the space chase was badly written with clumsy characters who each carried a huge idiot ball the entire movie screaming “Look at me! I’m new and shinny and therefore amazing!” I told you it made me grouchy. However, my biggest problem with the movie, is that the writers or directors or both decided to subvert every single promise from the first movie. I realize it’s probably because fans like me were like, “The Force Awakens was too much like A New Hope!” but most of what episode 8 is about tries to undo what happened in episode 7. In the same way that episode 9 tries to undo a lot of what happened in 8.

This is terrible planning on someone’s part. As an author, I know it’s suicide to subvert everything you promise at the beginning of a book or series. Yes, some twists are great. Surprising the reader is awesome, but Disney shot itself in the foot by trying too hard to be different with episode 8. Just my opinion.

A friend said what I couldn’t find the words for a few weeks ago. “Disney had one job with these movies. Put Luke Leia, Han and Chewie on the screen together. That’s what fans wanted, and they never got it.”

There’s a lot of truth to that. Yes, the newer characters are the main focus, but that is what I wanted. Even just a few scenes. Even if they were all a little broken.

So, with that said, I didn’t have high hopes for this movie. I went in with low expectations.

3 of 5

 

Characters

Rey was supposed to be the focus of this movie. Her journey with the force and where it would lead. They did an okay job with that. Much more compelling, however, was Kylo Ren’s character arc. The movie rushed them both, but I wanted more of Ben! Way more. I didn’t think he was particularly interesting until this movie.

Finn was back! Loved him in episode 7, not so much in 8, really liked him in this one. A lot of people were upset Rose had a “bit part,” but I actually thought they put her in a nice position. Her character was rough, raw and a little dumb in episode 8. This time around she’s helping the general, in charge of stuff, and doing a great job of it. They tried a little too hard with Poe. He did make me laugh, which is good, so there’s that.

The heroes were a bit rough in the beginning, but turned it around a little way into the show. In general I liked the characters. I still want more of Ben.

4 of 5

 

Did I care what happened?

Surprisingly, yes. It took me a while, but I finally got drawn in.

4 of 5

 

Plot Holes

A Star Wars movie is like a Marvel movie. Yes, there will be plot holes. I rolled my eyes several times, but since my expectations were so low, I didn’t mind as much.

More than plot holes, this movie used easy plot devices. How many coincidences can happen? A girl on a random planet gives Rey a necklace and asks her what her family name is, Kylo appears to her via force vision/bond thing and snatches the necklace, allowing him to find out where she is, Rey and co. having to run from bad guys until they fall into the same quicksand as they dead guy they’re looking for, which leads them to a worm, which Rey helps foreshadowing for later, which leads to the knife which leads to a new ship which leads to rescuing Chewie which leads to them getting their old ship back. Oh, and Lando. All together it was just a little bit too convenient for my taste.

Granted, they had a lot to cover. As I said before, the director was trying to “fix” a bunch of the issues with the last movie, so most things felt very forced.

4 of 5

 

How many times did I yawn?

Never? My complaint would be that the movie moved too fast.

5 of 5

 

Cool Factor

Effects were great. Rey and the transport…yikes. Force Lightning! Leia dying 🙁 They packed this movie full of Star Wars-ness, and I loved most of it.

5 of 5

 

The End

I liked it. Here’s my spoiler: by the end of the movie, I was much more interested in Ben than Rey, which made me not like that part of the end.

4 of 5

 

Overall Enjoyment

I’m surprised to say that I enjoyed the show. I went in with low expectations, which helped. I also tried to immerse myself into the story and not compare it to anything. The parallels with Return of the Jedi were too prevalent to ignore completely, but all in all, I liked it. A decent ending to the saga.

4 of 5

 

33

That’s a Brown Belt!


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Jojo Rabbit Movie Review

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A young boy in Hitler’s army finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.

 

Why did I come to this movie again?

I have a friend who wanted to see this show, so I watched the trailer. A kid who has Hitler as his imaginary friend? How could I resist? All I knew going in is that people really liked the show.

4 of 5

 

Characters

I thought the character of Jojo was amazing. He’s a ten year old boy who, instead of being obsessed with Minecraft, is completely obsessed with being a Nazi. Normally this wouldn’t be a trait I found endearing, but his blind fanaticism gave me the chance to see what it might have been like for people in Germany during Hitler’s reign. Why the kids were so involved.

His mother, played by Scarlett Johansson, didn’t have a whole lot of scenes in the movie, but her performance was stellar. When she pretends to be Jojo’s dad during dinner…wow. Just wow.

The Jewish girl hiding in the attic also goes through a character arc. She’s the one who points out that Jojo is just a little boy who wants to belong to a club. Something bigger than he is. Her changes are as big as his are.

5 of 5

 

Did I care what happened?

Yes. The whole time. Even when things went a bit ridiculous.

5 of 5

 

Plot Holes

This isn’t a plot hole, per se, but there were a few things that I found odd. I can’t give them away, because spoilers, but I had to remind myself that this is from a 10 year-olds point of view, which is why they skipped a few things. I think.

4 of 5

 

How many times did I yawn?

It’s not a fast-moving film, and I only got bored once or twice. And even then only for a minute or two.

4 of 5

 

Cool Factor

The fact that I had sympathy for almost every character in the film is pretty awesome. Getting the feel of Nazi Germany without going super dark was impressive. Not to say that the film isn’t dark. It is. However, Jojo keeps pulling it back into his 10  year-old head, which keeps the audience from getting too carried away into feelings of disgust and rage.

5 of 5

 

The End

I loved the end! I loved that he actually chickens out of something (he’s a bit of a coward through different sections of the film) then redeems himself. And learns that he is a good person. That he can be more.

5 of 5

 

Overall Enjoyment

This show was strangely funny and enjoyable. Still, they put in plenty of heart-wrenching moments to keep the heaviness of the topic pressing down on the audience. This might be my most surprising film of the year. Not exactly mainstream, but so, so good.

5 of 5

37

That’s a Black Belt!

 


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