What to Watch in the Theater:
Dora and the Lost City of Gold (PG) is in theaters now. Unlike the TV series, this is not aimed at preschoolers or young kids, as the story follows a 16-year-old Dora (not a 6-year-old one). Being unfamiliar with the show was not a drawback for us. The movie is fun and campy, quickly moving from a fish out of water story with Dora in the big city, back to a jungle adventure, with some new companions who are now out of THEIR element. Of course Backpack and Boots the monkey are part of the action, but there are also some new friends and foes. The kids in our audience enjoyed the heck out of the slapstick, plus nude and poo gags. While we enjoyed the movie in general, we couldn’t help wondering about the intended audience for a teen Dora film.
Our rating: 4 out of 5
The Angry Birds Movie 2 (PG) is in theaters now. Red is enjoying his hero status on Bird Island, until the Pigs want to call a truce on the prank war. There’s another island that’s threatening both of them, and the former enemies have to learn to work together against the Eagles. This one might be even better than the first – it’s rife with pop culture references and innuendo, plus tons of celebrity voices. Standout newcomers include Leslie Jones, Tiffany Haddish and Awkwafina. This is more than just a movie based on a game, as we learn more about the characters and their families. There are Lots of laugh out loud moments here – it’s a fun watch.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5
Blinded by the Light (PG13) opens today. Based on a true story, this music-infused coming of age story follows Javed, a Pakistani teen trying to navigate life in 1987 England. As economic woes hit his family, they are also targeted by bigots and hate groups. Javed is struggling to be part of his traditional family, but still grow as a person, and he grapples with father/son issues. When he discovers the music of Bruce Springsteen, he finds a new light (and love) in his life, which makes the struggle even more intense. This is an enlightening film from a historical perspective. It also strikes a chord with anyone who has struggled to become their own person, in the face of family or societal pressures. And if you love movies that take place in the 80s (including all the music, hair and wardrobe), here’s one to add to the list.
Our rating: 4 out of 5
What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Teen Spirit (PG13) is available for rental. This is the story of Violet, who enters a singing competition in an attempt to get out of her small town on the Isle of Wight (UK). It’s a bit weird to us that an older man, a veritable stranger to her, becomes her manager/guardian for the purposes of the competition, but his skill set does come in handy. Elle Fanning’s vocals are good, and it’s interesting to see the process of the contest and how fame affects the character. It’s a bit of a strange film but it has its moments.
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5
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